R942 – Vue vers la route du Tholonet près du Chateau Noir, 1900-1904 (FWN347)

Pavel Machotka

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Vue vers la route du Tholonet près du Chateau Noir, 1900-1904 101.1 x 81.3 cm R942-FWN347

Vue vers la route du Tholonet près du Chateau Noir, 1900-1904
101.1 x 81.3 cm
R942-FWN347

Quite close to the Château Noir grounds and apparently looking south across the Route du Tholonet – seen receding from us in La Montagne Sainte-Victoire au-dessus de la route du Tholonet (avec pin parasol) –, Cézanne painted and nearly finished his Vue vers la route du Tholonet près du Château Noir. What is puzzling about it is that it is left incomplete in a peculiar way, with the whole lower quarter left in outline form and disconnected from the rest, and that the outline itself is multiple; one edge of the roof, for example, is done in eight distinct lines. No single way of explaining this unique boundary between the finished and the unfinished makes sense by itself: it does not seem like an efficient way to choose the boundary that works best, nor like a hesitant response to a problematic foreground. Surely the building’s reddish roof could stand in any one of several positions (each of which, admittedly, would have altered the picture’s depth).

Whatever the motive may have been, the effect is powerful. The colors of the distant hills are delicately harmonious and the sky is connected to them by touch and by color. Above all, we can look at the painting as a process, as as a chain of attempted answers to questions about depth and proportion, about the right touches to use to respond to those already in place, about the core subject of the painting.

 

Source: Machotka, Cézanne: The eye and the Mind.