Rocks at Fontainebleau

Paul Cézanne French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 619

In 1926 art critic Jules Meier-Graefe described Cézanne as an artist of “impeccable originality” because “it is not possible to avail yourself of El Greco’s language, if in using it, it is not invented again and again, by the user.” Cézanne studied black-and-white reproductions of works by El Greco, whose impact is most clear in his paintings from the late 1880s. This landscape—one of Cézanne’s most important—employs green, blue, and purple tints with an accent of golden sunlight at center to impart a shimmering vibrancy to the stones. Overall spatial recession is downplayed in favor of melding the foreground and background, resulting in the surface’s faceted effect. The thin, watercolor-like application of pigment, typical of Cézanne’s oils in the mid-1890s, lends the painting delicacy despite its monumentality.

Rocks at Fontainebleau, Paul Cézanne (French, Aix-en-Provence 1839–1906 Aix-en-Provence), Oil on canvas

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