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The Artistic Heritage of Modena: Wounded Art


The House with the Cracked Walls

Paul Cézanne (French, Aix-en-Provence 1839–1906 Aix-en-Provence)

Oil on canvas
31 1/2 x 25 1/4 in. (80 x 64.1 cm)
Credit Line:
The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1993, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    Cézanne often painted abandoned sites near his studio outside Aix, but he depicted this house, with its sinister crevice, only once.

  • Provenance

    the artist (until ca. 1899, sold for Fr 350 through Paul Cézanne fils to Vollard); [Ambroise Vollard, Paris, ca. 1899–1900, stock book A, no. 4141 (as "La maison fendue—peinture à l'huile—une maison sur la montagne," valued at Fr 2,000); traded together with two other Cézannes, an oil (Rewald 1996, no. 729, valued at Fr 1,800) and a watercolor (possibly Rewald 1983, no. 371), for one Degas pastel (possibly Lemoisne 1946–49, no. 1335, valued at Fr 3,900) on January 6, 1900, to Pellerin]; [Auguste Pellerin, Paris, 1900–1911; traded together with another Cézanne (Rewald 1996, no. 858) and one Monet (Wildenstein 1996, no. 280) plus an unspecified sum of currency, for a single Cézanne (Rewald 1996, no. 157) on February 7, 1911 to Bernheim-Jeune]; [Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, 1911; stock no. 18563; sold on February 10 to Vollard]; [Ambroise Vollard, Paris, 1911–12, stock no. 5143; shipped on March 30 and sold on May 8, 1912 for Fr 23,000 to Cassirer]; [Paul Cassirer, Berlin, 1912; stock no. 11734; sold on May 8 to Rothermundt]; Adolph Rothermundt, Dresden (from 1912; probably sold in June 1914 to Perls and Caspari); [Hugo Perls, Berlin, and Georg Caspari, Munich, probably 1914–21; siezed from Caspari in Paris by French government in November 1920, then returned; sold together with one Cézanne (Rewald 1996, no. 493) on August 19, 1921, for 1,875,000 marks to Cassirer]; [Paul Cassirer, Berlin, 1921; stock no. 18042; sold together with same Cézanne (Rewald 1996, no. 493) on August 19 for 2,100,000 marks to Matsukata]; [baron] Kojiro Matsukata, Kobe (1921–30; sold to Wada); Kyuzaemon Wada, Kobe and Osaka (1930–51; sold through Fujikawa Galleries, Osaka, on February 26, 1951 to Wildenstein); [Wildenstein, New York, 1951; sold on May 4 to Haupt]; Mr. and Mrs. Ira Haupt, New York (1951–his d. 1963); Mrs. Enid A. Haupt, New York (1963–83; sold in 1983 to Annenberg); her brother and his wife, Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, Rancho Mirage, Calif. (1983–93; jointly with MMA, 1993–his d. 2002)

  • Exhibition History

    Paris. Galerie Vollard. "Works by Paul Cézanne," November 1899, no. 3 (as "La Maison lézardée).

    Berlin. Paul Cassirer. April 1912, no. 4? (as "Landschaft") [see Rewald 1996].

    Osaka. location unknown. "Masterpieces of the Matsukata Collection," 1922, no. 12 [see Kobe 1990].

    Tokyo Prefectural Museum. "Third Exhibition of the Matsukata Collection," May 17–June 4, 1930, no. 12 [see Kobe 1990].

    New York. Wildenstein. "Masterpieces from Museums and Private Collections," November 8–December 15, 1951, no. 51 (as "Cracked House," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Ira Haupt).

    New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Paintings from Private Collections," May 31–September 5, 1955, no. 22 (as "The House with Cracked Walls," lent by Mr and Mrs. Ira Haupt).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 1–September 1, 1958, no. 21 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Ira Haupt).

    Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Painting," April 25–May 24, 1959, unnumbered cat. (p. 28, lent by Mr and Mrs. Ira Haupt).

    Washington. Phillips Collection. "Cézanne," February 27–March 28, 1971, no. 22 (lent by Mrs. Enid A. Haupt).

    Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," May 21–September 17, 1989, unnumbered cat.

    Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," May 6–August 5, 1990, unnumbered cat.

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," August 16–November 11, 1990, unnumbered cat.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," June 4–October 13, 1991, unnumbered cat.

  • References

    Félicien Fagus. "Quarante tableaux de Cézanne." La revue blanche 20 (December 1899), p. 628, calls it "Maison lézardée".

    "Confiscation de tableaux." Bulletin de la vie artistique 1 (December 15, 1920), p. 750, ill., lists it among a group of ten paintings brought to Paris by the dealer Georg Caspari, but seized by the treasury department for legal reasons.

    Julius Meier-Graefe. Cézanne und sein Kreis: Ein Beitrag zur Entwicklungsgeschichte. 3rd ed. [1st ed., 1918]. Munich, 1920, p. 129, ill., calls it "Das geborstene Haus".

    Georges Rivière. Le Maître Paul Cézanne. Paris, 1923, p. 204, calls it "La maison lézardée et le chemin rural à Auvers" and dates it 1877; erroneously locates it as still in the Rothermundt collection, Dresden.

    Julius Meier-Graefe. Cézanne. London, 1927, pl. XXXVI, calls it "The House with the Cracked Wall" and places it in the Matsukata collection, Kobe, Japan.

    Kurt Pfister. Cézanne: Gestalt/Werk/Mythos. Potsdam, 1927, fig. 44, dates it about 1880.

    Georges Rivière. Cézanne: le peintre solitaire. Paris, 1933, p. 109, ill. between pp. 56 and 63, dates it 1877 and states that it was painted in Auvers; erroneously locates it as still in the Rothermundt collection.

    Lionello Venturi. Cézanne: son art—son oeuvre. Paris, 1936, vol. 1, pp. 64, 206, no. 657; vol. 2, pl. 211, no. 657, dates it 1892–94; remarks that Cézanne's landscapes of this period become more dramatic and "tormented".

    Edgar C. Schenck. "Girl with Her Doll." Honolulu Academy of Arts Bulletin 5 (March 1937), p. 8, fig. 5.

    Raymond Cogniat. Cézanne. Paris, 1939, pl. 95, dates it 1892–94 and erroneously locates it as still in the Matsukata collection.

    Bernard Dorival. Cézanne. [English ed., 1948]. Paris, 1948, pp. 80, 138, 169, pl. 140, dates it about 1896.

    Gotthard Jedlicka. Cézanne. Bern, 1948, fig. 42, dates it 1892–94 and erroneously locates it as still in the Matsukata collection.

    Liliane Guerry. Cézanne et l'expression de l'espace. [1st ed.; 2nd ed., 1966]. Paris, 1950, pp. 100, 110.

    "Fifty Years for Wildenstein." Art News 50 (November 1951), ill. p. 27, dates it about 1892 and states that Cézanne painted it "in the isolation of Aix".

    Meyer Schapiro. Paul Cézanne. 1st ed. New York, 1952, pp. 106–7, ill. (color), dates it 1892–94; calls it a "romantic picture" and discusses how the structure of the composition creates "an effect of intimacy and strain, of restlessness and quiet"; notes that the black cracks of the wall find their counterpart in the tree trunks of the background, the path on the ground, and the markings of the rocks.

    Theodore Rousseau Jr. Paul Cézanne (1839–1906). New York, 1953, unpaginated, colorpl. 23, notes that its dramatic effect is produced by an anecdotal detail, the dark crack, rather than by the general treatment of color and forms.

    Introduction by Alfred H. Barr Jr. "Paintings from Private Collections." Museum of Modern Art Bulletin 22 (Summer 1955), pp. 11, 30, no. 22, ill. (installation photo).

    John Rewald. Cézanne, Landscapes. [French ed., Paris, 1958]. New York, 1958, unpaginated, colorpl. 10.

    Ralph T. Coe. "Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in Washington." Burlington Magazine 101 (June 1959), p. 242.

    Frank Elgar. Cézanne. New York, [1969], pp. 189, 280, fig. 111, dates it about 1896 and comments that the cracked house "displays its wounds, much as the faces of the peasants show theirs".

    Jack Lindsay. Cézanne: His Life and Art. Greenwich, Conn., 1969, fig. 68.

    Sandra Orienti in L'opera completa di Cézanne. [French ed., 1975; English ed., 1985]. Milan, 1970, pp. 116–17, no. 686, ill.

    Marcel Brion. Paul Cézanne. Milan, 1972, ill. p. 79.

    Meyer Schapiro. P. Cézanne. Paris, 1973, unpaginated, colorpl. .34.

    John Rewald. "Some Entries for a New Catalogue Raisonné of Cézanne's Paintings." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 86 (November 1975), p. 167, tentatively states that Auguste Pellerin traded it to Bernheim-Jeune in February 1911 with "Réunion des femmes nues" (possibly V386, R362; Barnes Foundation, Merion, Penn.), Monet's "Le jardin," and cash; in exchange he received "L'Estaque, effet de neige," (V51, R157; private collection, Switzerland).

    Theodore Reff in Cézanne: The Late Work. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1977, pp. 24–25, ill., calls it an image of imminent destruction with a romantic theme, possibly related to the climactic scene in Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher".

    Matthias Arnold. "Cézanne und van Gogh—Die beiden großen Postimpressionisten: Ein Vergleich II." Weltkunst 56 (January 15, 1986), p. 133, fig. 42 (color), compares it to van Gogh's "Farmhouse in Auvers" (1890, Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam).

    Colin B. Bailey. "La Collection Annenberg." L'Oeil nos. 408–9 (July–August 1989), p. 45, fig. 11, comments that the window resembles the empty eye socket of a skull; believes it represents a house in the vicinity of the abandoned quarry of Bibémus.

    Jack Flam. "In a Different Light." Art News 88 (Summer 1989), pp. 116–17, ill. (color).

    Chuji Ikegami in The Old Matsukata Collection. Exh. cat., Kobe City Museum. Kobe, 1989, p. 121, lists it as one of the four paintings by Cézanne that Matsukata exported from Japan to the United States after World War II.

    Yukio Yashiro in The Old Matsukata Collection. Exh. cat., Kobe City Museum. Kobe, 1989, p. 145, recalls that this painting was used by Matsukata as collateral for ¥30,000.

    The Old Matsukata Collection: Occidental Art. Exh. cat., Kobe City Museum. Kobe, 1990, p. 103, no. 371, ill., identifies it in Exhs. Osaka 1922 and Tokyo 1930.

    Jérôme Coignard. "Le Salon de peinture de Mr. et Mrs. Annenberg." Beaux arts no. 92 (July–August 1991), p. 69.

    Joseph J. Rishel in Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1991, pp. 80–81, 182–84, ill. (color and black and white), compares it to "House of the Hanged Man" (Musée d'Orsay, Paris; R202) and "Millstone in the Park of the Château Noir" (Philadelphia Museum of Art; R763).

    Gary Tinterow. "Miracle au Met." Connaissance des arts no. 472 (June 1991), p. 39.

    Richard Verdi. Cézanne. London, 1992, p. 150, fig. 129, describes it as one of the landscapes of the early 1890s which "appear more romantic in mood and theme and anticipate the greater emotionalism of the artist's final years".

    Gary Tinterow. "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1993–1994." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 52 (Fall 1994), p. 49, ill. (color), dates it 1894 and comments on its sense of disintegration and desolation.

    Walter Feilchenfeldt in Cézanne. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. Philadelphia, 1996, p. 577 [French ed., Paris, 1995].

    Henri Loyrette in Cézanne. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. Philadelphia, 1996, p. 139 [French ed., Paris, 1995], discusses "The House of the Hanged Man" (Orsay; R202) as the precursor of this picture and others of abandoned habitations with cracked walls.

    John Rewald, in collaboration with Walter Feilchenfeldt, and Jayne Warman. The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonné. New York, 1996, vol. 1, pp. 341, 462–63, 562, 564, 571, no. 760; vol. 2, p. 261, fig. 760, calls it "La maison lézardée" and dates it 1892–94.

    Yoko Fukumitsu et al. in Captivated by Western Art: Fifteen Japanese Collectors, 1890–1940. Exh. cat., Bridgestone Museum of Art. Tokyo, 1997, pp. 55, 63–64, fig. WK-7, confirms its inclusion in Exh. Tokyo 1930 and states that it was acquired by Wada in 1930.

    Ira Berkow. "Jewels in the Desert." Art News 97 (May 1998), p. 149.

    Furuta Hirotoshi in Cézanne and Japan. Exh. cat., Yokohama Museum of Art. Tokyo, 1999, pp. 44, 219–20, fig. 1, includes it among a group of works "first shown in Japan at the 'Matsukata Collection European Painting Exhibition' held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in February 1934, where they were put up for sale" [but see Refs. Kobe 1990 and Fukumitsu et al. 1997].

    Chiao-Mei Liu Université de Paris. Cézanne: La série de Château Noir. Villeneuve d'Ascq, 2001, pp. 70–71.

    Nina Maria Athanassoglou-Kallmyer. Cézanne and Provence: The Painter in His Culture. Chicago, 2003, pp. 132, 137, fig. 3.37 (color), comments that this painting suggests "death, even murderous, violent death" and calls the house a "desiccated architectural corpse".

    Heike Biedermann in Von Monet bis Mondrian: Meisterwerke der Moderne aus Dresdner Privatsammlungen der ersten Hälfte des 20.Jahrhunderts. Exh. cat., Galerie Neue Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Munich, 2006, p. 57, fig. 20 (color).

    Philip Conisbee in Philip Conisbee and Denis Coutagne. Cézanne in Provence. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2006, p. 198, locates this house at either Le Tholonet or L'Estaque.

    Joseph J. Rishel in Masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. 4th rev. ed. [1st ed., 1989]. New York, 2009, pp. 152–56, no. 29, ill. (color).

  • See also