When Cézanne started painting in the 1860s, he worked primarily in the studio on figural compositions and still lifes. But the allure of the countryside soon drew his attention, and under the guidance of Camille Pissarro, with whom he painted in Pontoise and Auvers between 1872 and 1873, Cézanne fully embraced working regularly en plein air (in the open air).
This sunlit scene shows the extent to which the artist absorbed the lessons of impressionism, of capturing the visual sensations of nature with modulated brushwork that examines the relationship between color and light. The thin application of paint, with spots of canvas showing through, contributes to the light-soaked appearance of the scene. A bright palette of predominantly yellows and greens unifies the composition, while Cézanne’s distinct brushwork—with horizontal strokes creating the mirrored surface of the river and short parallel strokes forming much of the foliage—results in a cohesive, rhythmic surface.
The exact location of the setting has not been identified, but the theme of buildings nestled along a river landscape was one Cézanne returned to frequently.
(Ambroise Vollard [1867-1939], Paris); sold 31 July 1926 to Dr. Gottlieb Friedrich Reber [1880-1959], Lausanne, and (Galerie Thannhauser, Lucerne); on consignment from 4 August 1927 to D. Pagenstecher, Wiesbaden; sold 1951 to (Walter Feilchenfeldt, Zürich); sold 1955 to a private collection, from which it was returned 1964 to (Walter Feilchenfeldt, Zürich); sold 15 January 1964 to (M. Knoedler & Co., London, New York and Paris); sold 13 June 1964 to Ailsa Mellon Bruce [1901-1969], New York; bequest 1970 to NGA.
- Erste Sonderaustellung in Berlin, Galerien Thannhauser at Berliner Künsterlhaus, 1927, unnumbered catalogue, repro. p. 25
- Paul Cézanne, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, 1956, no. 36, repro.
- Paul Cézanne, Kunsthaus Zurich, 1956, no. 61
- Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture Collected by Yale Alumni, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 1960, no. 77, repro.
- French Paintings from the Collections of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon and Mrs. Mellon Bruce, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1966, no. 71, repro
- Impressionisti della National Gallery of Art di Washington, Ala Napoleonica e Museo Correr, Venice, and Palazzo Reale, Milan, 1989, unnumbered catalogue, repro.
- Französische Impressionisten und ihre Wegbereiter aus der National Gallery of Art, Washington und dem Cincinnati Art Museum, Neue Pinakothek, Munich, 1990, no. 62, repro.
- From El Greco to Cézanne: Masterpieces of European Painting from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and The Metroplitan Museum of Art, New York, National Gallery of Greece, Athens, 1992-1993, no. 63, repro.
- Around Impressionism: French Paintings from the National Gallery of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1999, no cat.
- Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, 1999, no. 55, repro.
- Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The National Art Center, Tokyo; Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, 2011, no. 11, repro.
- Venturi, Lionello. Cezanne, son art, son oeuvre. 2 vols. Paris, 1936: no. 634.
- Goldwater, Robert. "The Glory that was France." Art News 65 (March 1966): 48, repro.
- Orienti 1970, no.738.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 62, repro.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 507, no. 752, color repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 82, repro.
- Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 263.
- Rewald, John. The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: a catalogue raisonné. 2 vols. New York, 1996:no. 722, repro.
- Kropmanns, Peter, and Uwe Fleckner. "Von Kontinentaler Bedeutung: Gottlieb Freidrich Reber und seine Sammlungen." In Die Moderne und ihre Sammler. Andrea Pophanken and Felix Billeter, eds. Berlin, 2001: 387.