Paul Cézanne painted Maison Maria with a View of Château Noir in oil on canvas around 1895. This painting is in the collection of the Kimbell Art Museum in Texas.
What is depicted in the Maison Maria with a View of Château Noir?
The painting shows a Provençal scene, with rocky surfaces and vegetation surrounding Maison Maria in the central plan, while Château Noir looms in the distance.
Maison Maria with a View of Château Noir – Analysis
During the 1890s, Cézanne’s tendency to paint in an intimate, completely secluded environment became more and more frequent. Cézanne then discovers the areas east of Aix, which we recognize by their distinctly rocky landscapes and the abandoned dilapidated architecture that fascinated the painter. Cézanne often returned to the motif of Château Noir. Common to these spaces is decay, abandonment, a kind of poetic merging of nature with decaying spaces, and a strong melancholic component that exudes the scene.
Joseph Rishel in Masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection writes: The road to Le Tholonet, passing through a sparsely wooded, rocky landscape, had particular appeal, and just off it was the abandoned quarry of Bibemus, where he kept a small hut for his equipment within the high red walls of the artificial canyon. He was attracted to the seldom-used house, Chateau Noir, just above this road, belonging to an absentee chemical engineer. Despite its local name, its walls were actually stained a deep red, not unlike the color of the boulders in the quarry at Bibemus. It was a sinister place with half-finished structures and pointed gothic windows that held great appeal for Cézanne, who attempted to buy it, unsuccessfully, although he continued to paint there throughout the l890s.
The painting Maison Maria with a View of Château Noir was conceived on the principles of constituting a symbiosis of architectural forms and the nature that surrounds it. Cézanne’s distinctive coloristic harmony is noticeable in this composition in which identical tones build different forms – from soil and rock to walls and clouds. Although the entire structure of this painting in terms of palette rests on the addition of complementary colored fields, Cézanne’s strokes with which he treated the vegetation and the sky stand out in particular. By complementing colors in strikingly parallel strokes, Cézanne achieved freshness and vibrancy in the scene.
Another related artwork by Cézanne’s is the painting The House with the Cracked Walls, created between 1892 and 1894. This painting is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.