R551 – Les Marronniers du Jas de Bouffan en hiver, 1885-1886 (FWN216)
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It is perhaps in the first winter after his return to Aix that he painted the avenue of chestnuts at the Jas de Bouffan (Marronniers au Jas de Bouffan en hiver), seen from the side and barren of leaves; the farmhouse we saw in Le bassin du Jas de Bouffan en hiver (R350, FWN112) and the Sainte-Victoire are visible in the background. The painting seems more tentative, less ambitious, than those of the early part of the decade, and its paleness (reflecting, of course, the day and the season) seems consonant with what we may assume to be his prevailing mood. But this is at the same time its strength; unconcerned with the representation of space, it capitalizes on the expressive nature of line and the rhythmical spacing of verticals. With the background almost evanescent, it is the decorative pattern itself that carries the meaning, and it is the traces of the brush – filling in the spaces between the branches roughly and solidly – that convey the painterly animation. A decorative pattern, it might be noted, could have been achieved with less attention to the individuality of each branch, but for Cézanne the painting is both itself and a referent to something outside itself; one senses its double purpose and the painter’s efforts to unify them.
Source: Pavel Machotka: Cézanne: Landscape into Art
Sur cette photo prise vers 1900, on aperçoit les mêmes marronniers de l’extrémité de l’allée.