Overview

Cézanne's paintings after about 1895 are more somber, more mysterious than those of earlier years. His colors deepen, and his brushwork assumes greater expression. Spaces become more enclosed. Compare this landscape with Houses in Provence: The Riaux Valley near L'Estaque, c. 1883, executed 20 years earlier.

That painting is open, while a web of branches screens this one. This place is crabbed and remote—much more difficult and forbidding. Compare the skies, too. This blue is no longer airy, but leaden, darkened with touches of purple and green. Even the pale buildings have been replaced by a deeper ocher. Late in his life Cézanne was attracted not only to the fundamental order of nature, but also its chaos and restlessness. The moody loneliness of this place seems matched to his own. He painted Château Noir several times. It was the subject of local legends and had earlier been called Château Diable, "Castle of the Devil." With its Gothic windows and incomplete walls, it has the look of a ruin.

Cézanne still painted in the open air, directly in front of his subject, as impressionist Camille Pissarro had encouraged him to do. But this is far from a quick recording of fleeting visual effects. It is a long and intense meditation, an attempt to "realize"—to use Cézanne's word—his complete sensation of this place, which involves his temperament, his vision, and his mind equally.

Inscription

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Marks and Labels

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Provenance

Acquired 1907 by (Ambroise Vollard [1867-1939], Paris);[1] sold to Marius de Zayas [1881-1961].[2] Purchased by Edward Steichen [1879-1973] for Eugene [1875-1959] and Agnes Ernst Meyer [1887-1970], Mount Kisco, New York, and Washington, D.C., by 1921;[3] gift 1958 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1907
Possibly Salon d'Automne, Grand Palais, Paris, 1907, no. 49.
1912
Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition, Grafton Galleries, London, 1912, no. 2.
1916
The Modern Gallery, New York, 1916.
1921
Loan Exhibition of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1921, no. 23.
1923
Loan, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1923.
1977
Cézanne: The Late Work, The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Grand Palais, Paris, 1977, no. 34, repro.
1980
Post-Impressionism: Cross-Currents in European and American Painting 1880-1906, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980, not in cat.
1986
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, State Hermitage Museum, Leningrad; State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, 1986, no. 37, repro.
1995
Cézanne, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris; Tate Gallery, London; Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1995-1996, no. 189, repro.
1998
Loan to display with permanent collection, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, 1998.
2000
The Year 1900: Art at the Crossroads, Royal Academy of Arts, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2000, no. 212, repro. (shown only in New York).
2004
Alfred Stieglitz and His Circle: 1905-1930, Musée d'Orsay, Paris; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 2004-2005, no. 42, repro. (shown only in Paris).
2005
Right Under the Sun: Landscape in Provence from Classicism to Modernism (1750-1920), Centre de la Vielle Charité, Marseille; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 2005-2006, no. 38, repro. (shown only in Montreal).
2009
Cézanne and Beyond, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2009, pl. 5.

Bibliography

1923
Bulletin of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1923): 263.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 25
1966
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 2:460, color repro.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 18, repro.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 58, repro.
1979
Watson, Ross. National Gallery of Art. London, 1979: 120, pl. 107, color repro.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 507, no. 755, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 78, repro.
1991
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 165, color repro.
1996
Rewald, John. The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: a catalogue raisonné. 2 vols. New York, 1996:no. 937, repro.
1997
Kelder, Diane. The Great Book of French Impressionism. New York, 1997: no. 375, repro.

Conservation Notes

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