Liberal Arts Blog — Cezanne — “The Jas de Bouffan” — the House, the Pool, the View
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Today’s Topic: Cezanne (1939–1906) — “The Jas de Bouffan” — the House, the Pool, the View
For 40 years (1859–1899), Cezanne was inspired by the beauty of his father’s estate called “Jas de Bouffan” outside of Aix-en-Provence in southern France. Thirty seven oils and sixteen watercolors were the fruits of that inspiration. “Jas de Bouffan” was to Cezanne, what “Giverny” was to Monet. Today, two of Cezanne’s “Jas de Bouffan” paintings plus a painting of the nearby mountain — Mont Sainte Victoire. Plus a few notes. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
JAS DE BOUFFAN (1885–1887) — called a “bastide” or “manor house”
1. “On the ground floor, the young Cezanne painted a dozen murals. He also set up his easel in the park, in front of the house, the farm, the woods and the avenue of chestnut trees, the pond and its statues …”
2. The house was built in 1750 and purchased in 1859 by his father, Louis-Auguste Cezanne, a prosperous banker.
3. “In 1880, Paul Cézanne established an atelier in the attic…After his father’s death, he lived in the bastide with his mother.”
NB: “However, after his mother died in 1897, he was forced to sell his property outside Aix to settle her estate among him and his two sisters, Marie and Rose. The house finally sold in 1899. The loss of this house was a significant emotional blow for Cézanne. He ended up buying a property just north of Aix, on the hill Les Lauves, and built a studio in 1902. The property had a large view of Aix and the vast surrounding plains, including Mont Sainte-Victoire. This was where he completed most of his late period paintings.”
LE BASSIN (“pool”) DU JAS DE BOUFFAN (1876)
1. Gentle balance of blue, white, and green.
2. Entrancing reflection.
3. Contrasting, complementary shapes.
MONT SAINTE-VICTOIRE — the nearby mountain (1887)
1. “Mont Sainte-Victoire became one of Cézanne’s most repeated and varied themes, with Cézanne changing something about the scene each time, from his angle to the lighting to the compositional specifics to the mood he tried to evoke.” (final link)
2. “Cézanne used three primary vantage points for these paintings: near his brother’s property in Bellevue, near Bibemus quarry, and in Les Lauves.”
3. “Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire paintings fell into two main periods: those he executed during his so-called “period of synthesis,” from roughly the 1870s to 1895, and those he created during his late period, from around 1895 until his death in 1906. Through both periods, Cézanne painted in watercolor as well as oil paints to capture Mont Sainte-Victoire with more transparency and lightness.”
NB: “While the Impressionists tried to depict nature directly as they saw it, Cézanne generally tried to convey a sense of what was beneath what the naked eye could see, though he still had a sharp eye for subtle changes in light and atmosphere.”
FOOTNOTE: Picasso’s appraisal. Picasso would call Cezanne, “my one and only master,” and “the father of us all.”
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