Forest Path (Chemin Sous Bois)

Forest Path (Chemin Sous Bois)

photo: Bruce M. White
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About This Work

Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906)
Forest Path, ca. 1904–06
Watercolor and graphite on off-white paper
45.5 x 63 cm. (17 15/16 x 24 13/16 in.)


[Ambroise Vollard (1867–1939), Paris; by descent to Robert de Galéa, Paris; [Martin Fabiani, Paris]. Morris Taylor, New Haven, Conn. Mr. and Mrs. Richard S. Davis, Minneapolis; sold to Henry Pearlman, by Sept. 1956; Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation, after 1974.

Conservator's Note

Many of the overlapping patches of translucent wash throughout were allowed to dry completely between applications; however, a number of strokes were applied wet-into-wet and bleed into one another or have softened edges.

Critical Perspective

This translucent, prismatic composition exemplifies Cézanne’s complex treatment of color in his late watercolors, as described by the younger painter Émile Bernard, who met Cézanne in the summer of 1904 and accompanied him on excursions in the environs of Aix-en-Provence. It was during one of these outings that Bernard reported witnessing Cézanne execute a watercolor: "His method was remarkable, totally different from traditional procedures and extremely complicated. He began on the shadow with a single patch, which he then overlapped with a second, and a third, until these patches, which produced screens, modeled the object by means of color."