Around 1895, Cézanne's landscapes changed their character. They shed the serenity, the clear organization and the sun-drenched daylight of those of the previous years. In the countryside around Aix-en-Provence, Cézanne sought out wilderness sites in which plant life and rock formations blended into thickly wooded compositions with rugged relief features.

The interplay of lights and values generates a com¬position devoid of any hint of perspective. The tree mass, handled with small, regular hatch marks, is curiously inter¬rupted by the reddish-orange wall of an overhanging boul¬der, whose coloring and brushwork contrast sharply with the rest of the picture.

As John Rewald observed in 1978, "From the standpoint of composition, the totally asymmetrical and abrupt superimposition of the rock in this forest scene is a wholly unaccus¬tomed element in Cézanne's landscapes. However, a mira¬culous balance is achieved by a white milestone, in the lower left, whose stability stands out from the luxuriant vegetation and whose solidity echoes that of the rock on the right".


  • Title: The Red Rock
  • Date Created: Circa 1895
  • Provenance: Walter-Guillaume Collection
  • Physical Dimensions: w680 x h920 mm
  • Painter: Paul Cézanne
  • Original Title: Le Rocher rouge
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: © RMN (Musée de l'Orangerie) / Hervé Lewandowski

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