Paul Cézanne (1839–1906)
La Montagne Sainte-Victoire from Les Lauves, near Aix-en-Provence, 1902/1904
Graphite and watercolour on paper, 47.5 x 61.5 cm
Presented, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, 1954
Cézanne made many paintings and drawings of Mont Sainte-Victoire. This view is from his studio in Les Lauves, which he had built after moving there in 1901. The artist has used a combination of pencil and thinly applied watercolour to suggest the key features of the landscape- houses, trees and fields, all of which are overlooked by the expansive north face of the mountain. Cézanne was interested in exploring ideas about how ‘finished’ a picture should be. In his late paintings he would often leave areas of the canvas bare. In this drawing, colour has been applied sparingly so that the white paper becomes an important element of the composition.
About the artist
Cézanne was born in Aix-en-Provence. He attended the Académie Suisse in Paris, where he became friends with Pissarro. Although Cézanne painted alongside Pissarro at Pontoise in the early 1870s and exhibited at the Impressionist exhibitions of 1874 and 1877, he remained a highly independent artist. His favoured subjects were landscapes and still-lifes. Painting in fragmented patches and planes of colour, he aspired to convey the physical essence of objects and space in his art. Cézanne’s innovative style greatly informed the work of Matisse and Picasso. He is considered to be a key figure in the development of twentieth century painting.