Paul Cézanne (French, Aix-en-Provence 1839–1906 Aix-en-Provence)
Oil on canvas
28 7/8 x 36 3/8 in. (73.3 x 92.4 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 826
Cézanne treated the rocks in this composition much as he did the fruits in his still lifes, rendering the shapes with passages of subtly varied color. Green, blue, and purple tints, with an accent of golden sunlight at center, impart a shimmering vibrancy to the stones. The sense of delicacy is enhanced by the thin, watercolor-like application of pigment, typical of Cézanne’s oils in the mid-1890s. Scholars traditionally identified the setting as the forest of Fontainebleau, where the artist worked around 1894, but it has also been suggested that the site is near Aix-en-Provence.
[Ambroise Vollard, Paris, ca. 1899–1901; stock book A, no. 3447; purchased from the artist for Fr 200; one of seven Cézannes sold and then shipped, on June 5, 1901, to the Havemeyers]; Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, New York (1901–his d. 1907); Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (1907–d. 1929; cat., 1931, p. 57)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 10–November 2, 1930, no. 8 [2nd ed., 1958, no. 64].
Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Museum of Art. "Cézanne," November 10–December 10, 1934, no. 42.
San Francisco Museum of Art. "Paul Cézanne: Exhibition of Paintings, Water-colors, Drawings and Prints," September 1–October 4, 1937, no. 31.
New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "Six Masters of Post-Impressionism," April 8–May 8, 1948, no. 9.
Detroit Institute of Arts. "Thirty-Eight Great Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 2–28, 1951, no catalogue.
Art Gallery of Toronto. "Thirty-Eight Great Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 14–December 12, 1951, no catalogue.
City Art Museum of St. Louis. "Thirty-Eight Great Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 6–February 4, 1952, no catalogue.
Seattle Art Museum. "Thirty-Eight Great Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," March 1–June 30, 1952, no catalogue.
West Palm Beach, Fla. Norton Gallery and School of Art. "French Painting—David to Cézanne," February 4–March 1, 1953, no. 24.
Coral Gables, Fla. Lowe Gallery. "French Painting—David to Cézanne," March 11–31, 1953, no. 24.
Hartford. Wadsworth Atheneum. "Twentieth Century Painting from Three Cities," October 19–December 4, 1955, no. 9.
Berlin. Schloss Charlottenburg. "Die Ile de France und ihre Maler," September 29–November 24, 1963, no. 5.
Tokyo National Museum. "Treasured Masterpieces of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," August 10–October 1, 1972, no. 102.
Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. "Treasured Masterpieces of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 8–November 26, 1972, no. 102.
New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Cézanne: The Late Work," October 7, 1977–January 3, 1978, no. 8.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Cézanne: The Late Work," January 25–March 21, 1978, no. 8.
Paris. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. "Cézanne: les dernières années (1895–1906)," April 20–July 23, 1978, no. 58.
Bordeaux. Galerie des Beaux-Arts. "Profil du Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York: de Ramsès à Picasso," May 15–September 1, 1981, no. 116.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A79.
Paris. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. "Cézanne," September 25, 1995–January 7, 1996, no. 158.
London. Tate Gallery. "Cézanne," February 8–April 28, 1996, no. 158.
Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Cézanne," May 30–September 1, 1996, no. 158.
Paris. Musée d'Orsay. "La collection Havemeyer: Quand l'Amérique découvrait l'impressionnisme...," October 20, 1997–January 18, 1998, no. 38.
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Marseilles. "Right under the Sun: Landscape in Provence from Classicism to Modernism (1750–1920)," May 18–August 21, 2005, no. 34.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. "Right under the Sun: Landscape in Provence from Classicism to Modernism (1750–1920)," September 22, 2005–January 8, 2006, no. 34.
Paris. Musée du Luxembourg. "Cézanne et Paris," October 12, 2011–February 26, 2012, no. 60 (as "Rochers à Fontainebleau," ca. 1893).
National Art Center, Tokyo. "Cézanne. Paris-Provence," March 28–June 11, 2012, no. 35.
"Havemeyer Collection at Metropolitan Museum: Havemeyers Paid Small Sums for Masterpieces." Art News 28 (March 15, 1930), p. 43.
Harry B. Wehle. "The Exhibition of the H. O. Havemeyer Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 25 (March 1930), p. 58, comments that this picture expresses "a morbid inner conflict, a compelling agony of spirit".
"The H. O. Havemeyer Collection." Parnassus 2 (March 1930), p. 7, dates it after Cézanne's "Mont Sainte-Victoire" (MMA 29.100.64) and "Vue de l'Estaque" (MMA 29.100.67), based on execution and coloring, which he calls "a turgid and menacing purple"; comments that Cézanne is "reverting to the romanticism of his youth, and veering away from Poussin in the direction of El Greco".
Frank Jewett Mather Jr. "The Havemeyer Pictures." The Arts 16 (March 1930), pp. 450, 483, suggests that Arthur B. Davies advised Mrs. Havemeyer to purchase her Cézanne paintings.
H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, p. 57.
Erle Loran. "Cézanne at the Pennsylvania Museum." American Magazine of Art 28 (February 1935), p. 89, ill., calls it "Rocks and Trees"; states that it was probably painted in the forest of the Château Noir near Aix rather than in Fontainebleau.
Lionello Venturi. Cézanne: son art—son oeuvre. Paris, 1936, vol. 1, p. 209, no. 673; vol. 2, pl. 216, no. 673, dates it 1894–98 and states that it was probably painted at Fontainebleau.
Robert J. Goldwater. "Cézanne in America: The Master's Paintings in American Collections." Art News Annual, section I (The 1938 Annual), 36 (March 26, 1938), p. 158, ill. p. 156, compares it to two similar landscapes from the same period (Museum of Modern Art, New York, V774, R906 and Cleveland Museum of Art, V783, R766).
Albert C. Barnes and Violette De Mazia. The Art of Cézanne. New York, 1939, p. 43 n. 77, p. 419, no. 171, compare its "deep lavender tone" to that of two other works (Musée d'Orsay, Paris, V786, R909 and Kunsthaus Zürich, V674, R776), dating all three pictures to the late 1890s.
Six Masters of Post-Impressionism. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. New York, 1948, pp. 17, 25, no. 9, ill., dates it 1895–1900.
Meyer Schapiro. Paul Cézanne. 1st ed. New York, 1952, pp. 118–19, ill. (color), dates it 1894–98; notices "a vague human profile in the lower right and physiognomic intimations—a reclining head—in the brighter central rock with scallopped [sic] edge"; compares it to a passage from Flaubert's novel "The Sentimental Education" describing the forest of Fontainebleau.
Lillian Ross. Portrait of Hemingway. New York, 1961, p. 60, recalls Hemingway's remark before this painting at the MMA: "This is what we try to do in writing, this and this, and the woods, and the rocks we have to climb over".
Leopold Reidemeister. Auf den Spuren der Maler der Ile de France. Berlin, 1963, ill. p. 35.
Douglas Cooper. Letter to Margaretta Salinger. March 13, 1964, dates it about 1898, and believes it was painted near the Château Noir, rather than at Fontainebleau; mistakenly refers to our painting as V784, and relates it to a group of similar landscapes: Museum of Modern Art, New York, V774, R906; Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation, V780, R907; Musée d'Orsay, Paris, V786, R909; Stiftung Langmatt Sidney and Jenny Brown, Baden, V788, R908; and collection H. W. Ritchie, Dallas, V792, R888.
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 3, XIX–XX Centuries. New York, 1967, p. 117, ill.
Richard W. Murphy et al. The World of Cézanne: 1839–1906. New York, 1968, pp. 90–91, ill. (color, overall and detail).
Frank Elgar. Cézanne. New York, , pp. 175–76, 279, fig. 100.
Chuji Ikegami. Cézanne. Tokyo, 1969, p. 133, no. 54, ill. (color and black and white).
Sandra Orienti inL'opera completa di Cézanne. [French ed., 1975; English ed., 1985]. Milan, 1970, pp. 116–17, no. 691, ill.
John Rewald. Letter to Margaretta Salinger. May 9, 1971, citing Leo Marchutz's assertion that this picture does not represent the area around the Château Noir, rejects Cooper's [Ref. 1964] opinion that it does.
Adrien Chappuis. The Drawings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonné. Greenwich, Conn., 1973, vol. 1, p. 263, under no. 1155, compares it to a landscape sketch (1889–92; collection Edmée Maus, Geneva) which includes "a smooth-surfaced rock, often seen by the artist both in Fontainebleau Forest and the Aix countryside".
Meyer Schapiro. P. Cézanne. Paris, 1973, unpaginated, colorpl. 36, dates it 1894–98.
Lydie Huyghe in René Huyghe. La Relève du réel: la peinture française au XIXe siècle: impressionnisme, symbolisme. Paris, 1974, p. 436, fig. 182, date it 1894–98 and believe it represents the forest of Fontainebleau.
Theodore Reff inCézanne: The Late Work. Ed. William Rubin. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1977, pp. 22–23, ill., states that it was "probably painted at Fontainebleau in 1894"; describes the mood of the picture as "somber and hermetic".
John Rewald inCézanne: The Late Work. Ed. William Rubin. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1977, p. 389, no. 8, pl. 67 [French ed., "Cézanne, les dernières années (1895–1906)," Paris, 1978, pp. 156–58, no. 58, ill.], dates it 1893–94; observes that the color (which is different from the chromatism of the Château Noir paintings), the "cold blue light," and the straight horizon line seen at left all point to a Northern motif, and states that "Cézanne is known to have worked at Fontainebleau around 1893".
Donald E. Gordon. "The Expressionist Cézanne." Artforum 16 (March 1978), p. 38, ill., dates it about 1893.
Douglas Cooper. "Masters, Maniacs & Magna-opera." Books and Bookmen 24 (April 1979), p. 30, repeats his assertion that this picture was painted near Aix, rather than at Fontainebleau [see Ref. Cooper 1964], and dates it 1897.
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, p. 430, fig. 796 (color), tentatively dates it about 1898 and identifies the location as "presumably in the south, near the Château Noir".
François Duret-Robert. "New York—Bordeaux." Connaissance des arts no. 353 (July 1981), p. 76, ill. (color), dates it about 1897.
John Pope-Hennessy inProfil du Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York: de Ramsès à Picasso. Exh. cat., Galerie des Beaux-Arts. Bordeaux, 1981, pp. 28, 97, no. 116, ill. (color and black and white).
Charles S. Moffett. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 202–3, 254, ill. (color).
Gary Tinterow et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 8, Modern Europe. New York, 1987, pp. 9, 55, colorpl. 34, date it about 1893; call it an "artificial, generated space" and compare it to Picasso's "Still Life" (MMA 49.70.33) and Braque's "Le guéridon" (MMA 1979.481).
Ann Dumas in Sarah Faunce and Linda Nochlin. Courbet Reconsidered. Exh. cat., Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, 1988, p. 141, under no. 36, relates it to Courbet's earlier "The Fringe of the Forest" (Philadelphia Museum of Art), suggesting that both works may depict a view from the forest of Fontainebleau.
Richard Kendall, ed. Cézanne by Himself: Drawings, Paintings, Writings. London, 1988, pp. 218, 316, ill. (color), dates it about 1894–98.
John Rewald with the research assistance of Frances Weitzenhoffer. Cézanne and America: Dealers, Collectors, Artists and Critics, 1891–1921. The A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, Princeton, 1989, p. 128 n. 44, pp. 311, 349, fig. 158, dates it 1893–94.
Susan Alyson Stein inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 285.
Gary Tinterow inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 47, colorpl. 52.
Gretchen Wold inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 303–4, no. A79, ill.
Michael Kimmelman. "At the Met with Elizabeth Murray: Looking for the Magic in Painting." New York Times (October 21, 1994), p. C28, relates that Murray sees "a human profile and sexual allusions in the outlines of the rocks" as well as ambiguous passages in this picture.
Maria Teresa Benedetti. Cézanne. [Italian ed., 1995]. Paris, 1995, pp. 170, 212, ill. (color), dates it 1894–98 and states that it represents an impenetrable terrain full of obstacles.
Joseph J. Rishel inCézanne. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. Philadelphia, 1996, pp. 381–83, 486, no. 158, ill. (color) [French ed., Paris, 1995], dates it about 1893, in agreement with Rewald [Ref. 1996].
Walter Feilchenfeldt inCézanne. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. Philadelphia, 1996, p. 574 [French ed., Paris, 1995].
Richard Schiff. "Dense Cézanne." Apollo 143 (June 1996), pp. 53–54, colorpl. 1, dates it about 1893.
John Rewald, in collaboration with Walter Feilchenfeldt, and Jayne Warman. The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonné. New York, 1996, vol. 1, pp. 469–70, 532–33, 568–73, no. 775; vol. 2, p. 268, fig. 775, calls it "Rochers à Fontainebleau" and dates it about 1893; rejects the suggestion that it was painted near the Château Noir [see Refs. Cooper 1964 and 1979]; relates it to "Rochers dans le bois" (about 1893; Kunsthaus Zurich; V674, R776), "Intérieur de forêt" (1898–99; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; V784, R905), and "Pins et rochers (Fontainebleau?)" (about 1897; Museum of Modern Art, New York; V774, R906).
Pavel Machotka. Cézanne: Landscape into Art. New Haven, 1996, pp. xiv, 26–27, 92–94, 102, fig. 62 (color), dates it 1897–98, based on the overlapping patches of color, which appear closer to Cézanne's style at the end of the nineteenth century and derive from his watercolor technique; reproduces a photograph of a section of the Fontainebleau forest that he believes must be close to the site of this picture; identifies the trees as Scotch pines, a relatively recent introduction to the forest.
Gary Tinterow inLa collection Havemeyer: Quand l'Amérique découvrait l'impressionnisme. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay. Paris, 1997, pp. 71–72, 106, no. 38, ill., dates it about 1893–94.
Michael Kimmelman. Portraits: Talking with Artists at the Met, the Modern, the Louvre and Elsewhere. New York, 1998, pp. 19–20 [text similar to Kimmelman 1994].
Friedrich Teja Bach inCézanne: Finished, Unfinished. Ed. Simon Lèbe. Exh. cat., Kunstforum Wien. 2000, pp. 79–80, fig. 28, dates it about 1893; interprets the thin tree trunk in front of the central sharp-edged rock as a gesture of self-assertion and individuality.
Mary Tompkins Lewis. Cézanne. London, 2000, p. 297, fig. 185 (color), dates it about 1894–95.
Chiao-Mei Liu. Cézanne: La série de Château Noir. PhD diss., Université de Paris. Villeneuve d'Ascq, 2001, pp. 82, 84–85, 87, 320, fig. 45.
Guy Cogeval inRight under the Sun: Landscape in Provence from Classicism to Modernism (1750–1920). Ed. Guy Cogeval and Marie-Paule Vial. Exh. cat., Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Montreal, 2005, pp. 176–77, 249, no. 34, ill. (color), notes that whether it depicts the Fontainebleau forest or Château Noir area, "it is heavily impregnated with the abstract, jerky rhythms that Cézanne drew from his native Provence in the 1890s".
Jayne S. Warman inCézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde. Ed. Rebecca A. Rabinow. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2006, p. 340 n. 3, under no. 36, identifies this picture among the seven Cézannes shipped to the Havemeyers by Vollard on June 5, 1901.
Philip Conisbee in Philip Conisbee and Denis Coutagne. Cézanne in Provence. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2006, pp. 198–200, fig. 14 (color), calls it "Rocks at Fontainebleau" and dates it about 1893–95.
Kimberly Jones in Kimberly Jones. In the Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2008, p. 27, fig. 32 (color).
Jayne S. Warman in Gail Stavitsky and Katherine Rothkopf. Cézanne and American Modernism. Exh. cat., Montclair Art Museum. Montclair, 2009, p. 88 n. 34.
Emily Schuchardt Navratil in Gail Stavitsky and Katherine Rothkopf. Cézanne and American Modernism. Exh. cat., Montclair Art Museum. Montclair, 2009, p. 361.
Artist: Paul Cézanne (French, Aix-en-Provence 1839–1906 Aix-en-Provence)Date: n.d.Medium: Watercolor over black chalk (recto); black chalk and blue wash (verso)Accession: 1972.273On view in:Not on view
Artist: Paul Cézanne (French, Aix-en-Provence 1839–1906 Aix-en-Provence)Date: n.d.Medium: Graphite with green, blue and yellow washes (recto); graphite with green, blue and purple washes (verso)Accession: 62.109On view in:Not on view