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La Vallée de l'Arc

circa 1885-circa 1888


Paul Cézanne


19 Jan 1839 – 22 Oct 1906

Alternate image of La Vallée de l'Arc by Paul Cézanne
Alternate image of La Vallée de l'Arc by Paul Cézanne
  • Details

    circa 1885-circa 1888
    Media category
    Materials used
    watercolour and pencil on paper
    50.4 x 32.2 cm sheet; 68.0 x 48.5 x 3.5 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Purchased with funds from an anonymous donor 2021
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Paul Cézanne

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Executed between 1885 and 1888, 'La Vallée de l’Arc' is a daring and experimental work dating from a period of intense artistic exploration for Cézanne. His appreciation of the difference between oils and watercolours can truly be seen to be coming to the fore in this drawing. In early, unresolved watercolours, he had tried with varied success to capture similar scenes in a manner similar to his oils. At some point he realised that the two media require different treatments. His techniques for depicting the volume and almost tangible physicality of the world around him in oils was wholly unsuited to the diaphanous quality of watercolours, and so he developed a system of contrast between the painted and unpainted areas. He was able to present the world in a different way, demonstrated in his restraint, leaving vast expanses of blank, unmarked paper, manipulating the space itself and making it act as a colour in its own right. This judicious use of the white areas, combined with the vertical treatment of the scene, makes 'La Vallée de l’Arc' reminiscent of traditional Japanese landscapes.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 5 publications

Other works by Paul Cézanne

See all 7 works