Paul Cézanne - The alley at Chantilly 1888

The alley at Chantilly 1888
The alley at Chantilly
1888 81x65cm oil/canvas
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH, USA

« previous picture | 1880s Cézanne Paintings | next picture »

From Toledo Museum of Art:
In 1888 Paul Cézanne worked for a number of months at Chantilly, near Paris, where he explored the numerous shady avenues of the park surrounding its château. Avenue at Chantilly is one of three canvases he painted of these tree-lined paths. The centered, symmetrical composition features a gabled château carefully framed by trees. Cézanne's energetic brushwork and the painting's architectural structure help integrate the man-made elements of the scene with the natural ones.
Cézanne combined classical structural stability with a new sense of respect for the inherent two-dimensionality of painting, thus establishing tension between the illusion of spatial depth and the flatness of the painting surface. In Avenue at Chantilly he denied a deep, tunneling plunge toward the house in a variety of ways. The dense blue shadows beneath the trees, the brightness and clarity of the distant building, and the undefined edges of the path that bleed into the foliage on either side disrupt a coherent recession into depth, flattening out the image. He also brought echoes of the château's structure forward: the inclined framing trees parallel the sloping gables, the shutters and roofline echo the barrier across the path, and the overhanging edge of the foliage canopy aligns with the repeated horizontals of the architecture. Color, too, is strategically repeated throughout the canvas in vibrant hues. In these ways Cézanne collapsed space and unified the painting's surface, making a harmonious and enduring order from his endlessly varied sensations of the world in continual flux.
Often called the "Father of Modern Art," Cézanne had a direct influence on two of the most important artists of the twentieth century: his theories of color use had a great impact on Henri Matisse, and his geometric structure of space led Pablo Picasso toward the development of Cubism.