R444 – La Baie de l’Estaque, vers 1881-1882 (FWN155)

Pavel Machotka

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La Baie de l’Estaque
R444, FWN155

Le site aujourd’hui
(photo Pavel Machotka)









The parallel touch is used with equally happy results to depict La Baie de l’Estaque, where it must serve to integrate surfaces that have almost nothing in common with each other: buildings, vegetation, water, rocks, and sky. Cézanne applies his paint in full paste, seemingly without hesitation and, to judge by the effect, naturally. One of his challenges is met simply: the water is painted with horizontal touches, the distant shore with touches that follow the slope of the rocks. By their size, these two surfaces establish the two orientations that the rest of the painting must take into account. The greens, whether grouped into volumes that depict the pines, or left in small clusters that suggest bushes, are used to balance the water surface: the touches are vertical (except at the vertex of the bay, where they bend to create a transition to the cliffs). After all these elaborations, however successful they may have appeared to the painter, the sky seems reserved for a bit of relaxed play: the clouds are suggested, their outlines are carelessly misplaced, and – altogether seriously – the colors that depict the sky resonate with all those that make up the rest of the painting. Having thought about the touch itself, we note eventually that we are looking at a painting with a carefully studied color balance: the pinks complement the greens, and where greens find their way into the blues, they emphasize their blueness. The bay, a perfectly lovely view in its own right, is transformed into a polyphonic nexus of parallel touches.


Source: Pavel Machotka: Cézanne: Landscape into Art