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The François Zola Dam

CÉZANNE, Paul (1839 - 1906)

[image: Midday, L'Estaque]

Date: 1877-78

Media: oil on canvas

Size: 54.2 x 74.2 cm

Acquired: 1952; Bequest; Gwendoline Davies

Accession Number: NMW A 2439

Collection: The Davies Sisters Collection

Cézanne frequently visited the hills of l'Estaque, a short distance to the west of Marseilles. This midday view of them is painted on paper, laid down on canvas, and dates from 1878-79 or 1883-84. By 1885 it belonged to Gauguin, who copied it in gouache and mused that 'the path winding across the broken ground through the young trees reminded [him] of the lonely path along which Christ wandered in sombre thought towards the Mount of Olives'. The remarkably flat and simply articulated composition recalls Cézanne's observation that the Provençal landscape was 'like a playing card, red roofs over the blue sea...The sun is so terrific here that it seems to me as if the objects were silhouetted in blue, red, brown, and violet... this seems to me to be the opposite of modelling'. Gwendoline Davies purchased this work in Paris in 1918. When on loan to the Tate Gallery in 1922, Roger Fry praised it as 'one of the greatest of all Cézanne's landscapes'.


Richard Holt, 5 April 2014, 08:43

I bought a print of this wonderful picture on visit over thirty years ago. I will come when it is again on show. It hangs opposite my bed and I look at it every morning. There is always something new to see whether in the colours, the deep structure or the perfect wholeness of the picture. It's a great and moving picture, This morning I came across exactly the quote from Cezanne you use in Alex Danchev's new biography, which he cites as a letter from Cezanne to Pissarro in 1876. An exhibition setting these two great friends side by side (as the painted) would be wonderful but probably has already been done or would be hard to do (I'm only an amateur in such things). Whatever you do in the future with your Cezannes, they will remain a jewel in your great collection and I'll always be grateful I saw this one and bought the print (for 2 pounds I think) all that time ago.

Amgueddfa Cymru, 23 September 2013, 15:23

Dear marian berry,
Thank you for your comment, unfortunately this art work is actually being prepared for loan, and it will not be on display again at the National Museum Cardiff until June 2014. Graham Davies, Online Curator.

marian berry, 23 September 2013, 13:24

when will this work be exhibited next?
I am a U3A group leader for art appreciation in Ledbury Herefordshire. We are making a trip to Cardiff to visit the art collections on October 22nd.

I grew up with the collections in the 40's and 50's, first as a child and then as a student at Cardiff College of Art from 1950 - 55 and was a contmporary of
Ernie Zobole, Mary Lloyd Jones, Peter Nicholas and others.

Marian Berry

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