Paul Cézanne
The Village Road, Auvers

The Village Road, Auvers
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
The Village Road, Auvers
1872-1873
Oil on canvas
H. 46; W. 55 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Gérard Blot

Route de village, Auvers [The Village Road, Auvers]


From 1872 to 1874, Cézanne went to Pontoise to work with Pissarro. Whilst working with Pissarro, he gradually moved closer towards the Impressionist style, painting landscapes from nature, but still keeping a more structured composition and a sober atmosphere. In this canvas, painted between 1872 and 1873, with thick impasto and dark colours, Cézanne's palette has still not lightened significantly, but already has fewer strong contrasts than during his "baroque" phase.

Pissarro's influence can also be seen in his choice of subject. Following his friend's example, Cézanne in fact painted many village roads, lined with peasant dwellings. But whereas Pissarro's landscapes are full of characters and full of activity, in Cézanne's, there is never any inhabitant, never any smoke coming out of the chimneys or any sign whatever of activity. The houses seem to be closed and impenetrable, and the road narrows before suddenly disappearing behind a wall, and apparently leads nowhere. Perhaps this barren view with its tortuous lines, far removed from the peacefulness of Cézanne's future Provençal landscapes, expresses the questions of a painter who is still searching for his own direction.




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