R916 – La Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue des Lauves, 1902-1906 (FWN364)

Pavel Machotka

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La Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue des Lauves, 1902-1906 63.5 x 83 cm R916-FWN364

La Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue des Lauves, 1902-1906
63.5 x 83 cm

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R916-FWN364 was conceived with patches that form long arcs which sweep swiftly up from the lower right to the left and back; they converge into a dense area in the middle (groves of trees), then continue straight left to suggest the road. They achieve both a forceful recession in space, and, by their angle, provide balance to the long, north slope of the mountain. They are made to work by the way the painter had framed the motif: he had cut off a grove of trees at the bottom (the one we see in other versions and in other photographs), which meant that the fields reached down to the frame – and that his long arches would have to begin their work right there, pushing up deep into the center. Their colors are close in value, without sharp accents or pronounced contrasts, and this, too, reflects the site: not only is the season advanced, but the day is cloudy and the light diffuse. On such a day the mountain’s surface becomes flat, and its base almost merges with the fields. The specific rhythms of this canvas, then — its curving diagonals – seem to be an intuitive, immediate response to all these observations, and perhaps to others. A passionate construction, one in which everything works together with apparently unhesitating assurance, the painting also conveys some of what he saw. We must presume that the canvas had reached a stage where it had accomplished at least the minimum of what Cézanne would have wished; to us, there is no hint of an inability to connect the forms. The parabolic curves are a compelling invention, and would only be weakened by filling in the gaps.


Source: Machotka, Landscape into Art.