R833 – Ferme à Montgeroult, 1898 (FWN320)
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The town of Montgeroult, where Cézanne painted two landscapes in 1898, is built on a hill and most of its views face sharply up or down; as a result, the town offers — fairly suggests – painting canvases oriented vertically, with a steep receding space. Near the top, one of the streets crests abruptly and creates a straightedge behind which trees rise flatly as they might on a stage set. The view that Cézanne chose is unusual: buildings on the edges of the picture frame a lush cluster of trees in the middle distance. The façades on the right reflect the warm, late afternoon light and throw the dark green foliage into relief, while on the left a very thin line of masonry closes the space.
This simple description may or may not have defined the painter’s task before this site. But it is clear that the composition is essentially a given; Cézanne depicts the space exactly as he saw it, with the massive buildings on the right moving gently toward the center and being contained by the wall on the left. Little needs to be done to the principal buildings but introduce a hint of the violet of the roof and the doorway interior into the warm yellows. The stone and the slate then become part of one chromatic world at the same time as they remain distinct. The foliage participates in this small world of hues by its interplay of violets and greens.
Source: Machotka, Cézanne: Landscape into Art
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