• Results 1
  • Artist Paul Cézanne (French, 1839 - 1906)
  • TitleAvenue
  • Dating ca 1880-82
  • Technique/MaterialOil on canvas
  • Dimensions73,5 x 60,5 cm
  • AcquisitionGift of Gustaf Werner, 1931
  • CategoryOil painting
  • Inventory NumberGKM 0946
  • Display StatusOn display in The French Collection II (Room 29)
Exhibition History
A shady avenue of tall, straight trees is seen in a slightly rising perspective towards the image’s centre, where it ends in a wall of a house. The trees to the left run vertically through the image. The right-hand edge of the walk forms a diagonal that emphasizes the perspective. The entire upper half of the vertical image is occupied by the crowns of the trees, painted with sketchy, diagonal brushstrokes. The tree trunks’ vertical lines and horizontal shadows falling across the avenue counterpose the oblique brushstrokes of the treetops. Alternating cold and warm colours have been spread through the image, making it feel open and alive.
Avenue was painted during one of Cézanne’s three visits to Zola’s country house in Médan in 1880–2. The painting has an interesting history. For a time it was in Gauguin’s possession, and came to Scandinavia through his Danish wife. Writing to Pissarro, probably in the summer of 1883, Gauguin remarked:

“For now I am having two paintings by Cézanne transferred to new canvases. I managed to force myself to take both for 120 francs from Tanguy. You might as well get all the details: one is a sketchily rendered avenue, the trees lined up like soldiers and shadows rhythmized, gradually, as in a flight of steps.”

Cézanne’s disjointed pictorial space and emphasis on geometric forms would prove significant for Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque as they developed Cubism. Gauguin’s Synthetism inspired the turn-of-the-century Symbolists. Van Gogh’s colourful style was immensely important for the Expressionists. Thus Cézanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh, more than any other artists, can be said to have laid the foundations of modernism.

Kristoffer Arvidsson from The Collection Gothenburg Museum of Art, Gothenburg 2014