History And Context


Paul Cézanne linked the classical and traditional aspirations of the nineteenth century with an avant-garde technique and spirit that revealed painting’s abstract potential to the twentieth century. Cézanne’s fascination with Mont Sainte-Victoire stemmed partly from his avowed love for “the conformation of my country,” yet it transcended this profound attachment. According to Meyer Shapiro, “He identified with it as the ancients with a holy mountain on which they set the dwelling or birthplace of a god. Only for Cézanne, it was an inner god that he externalized in this mountain peak – his striving and exaltation and desire for repose.”

Duncan Phillips’s acceptance of Cézanne’s eminent ancestry in the Old Masters is signaled by his 1925 purchase of Mont Sainte-Victoire and his statement, “Our new masterpieces by Corot, Constable and Cézanne took their place in the Main Gallery as if they had always belonged there in that intimate association with Greco’s Peter , Chardin’s Still Life, the groups of Daumiers, Courbets and Chavannes and the great Renoir.” In 1931 in Phillip’s conveyed his feeling for the painting in his Trowbridge Lecture: “Perfect equilibrium is established, a beneficent harmony…. No touch of the painter’s brush fails to function in the sparing application of a few colors, while the canvas is left bare here and there with unerring knowledge of stress and interval, of movement and repose. A symmetry like the Parthenon and a strange solidity are achieved with the simplest means…. And so there is life and movement within the architecture of space.”

More Works by Paul Cézanne In the Collection


Seated Woman in Blue
Paul Cézanne
between 1902 and 1906
Self-Portrait
Paul Cézanne
ca. 1898

Fields at Bellevue
Paul Cézanne
between 1892 and 1895
Mont Sainte-Victoire
Paul Cézanne
between 1886 and 1887
Self-Portrait
Paul Cézanne
between 1878 and 1880