Cistern in the Park of Château Noir (La Citerne au Parc du Château Noir)

Cistern in the Park of Château Noir (La Citerne au Parc du Château Noir)

photo: Bruce M. White
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About This Work

Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906)
Cistern in the Park of Château Noir, 1895–1900
Watercolor and graphite on pale buff wove paper
50.6 x 43.4 cm. (19 15/16 x 17 1/16 in.)


[Ambroise Vollard (1867–1939), Paris]. [Galerie Mouradian & Vallotton, Paris]; Henry Pearlman, by 1950; Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation, 1984.

Conservator's Note

Although much of the graphite is an underdrawing beneath the watercolor, graphite pencil marks seem to cross over watercolor strokes in the soft hatch marks at the top right, indicating that Cézanne may have reworked parts of the watercolor with graphite.

Critical Perspective

This watercolor—the first work by Cézanne that Henry Pearlman acquired—represents the same site that is depicted in an oil painting he aquired two years later : a shaded grove of oak trees near a stone cistern on the grounds of the Château Noir. In the canvas, Cézanne painted the clearing from a different angle, emphasizing the central, pyramidal rock. Here, he exploited the blank paper to suggest light piercing through the soaring trees, creating a sparse and airy effect that is quite distinct from the denser and more closed setting conveyed by the opaquely painted canvas.

John Rewald, who "pestered him so much that I think he bought it just to get rid of me," writes to Henry Pearlman about his purchase of this work: