The Bay of Estaque Seen from the East (La Baie de l'Estaque vue de l'est)
21 1/4 x 25 5/8 in. (54 x 65.1 cm)
(Aix-en-Provence, France, 1839 – 1906, Aix-en-Provence, France)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Anonymous gift in tribute to Edward Harris and in memory of H. R. Stirlin of Switzerland
Location: Currently on view
Paul Cézanne exhibited in the Impressionist exhibition of 1874, and was encouraged by Camille Pissarro to begin painting out of doors. He soon moved beyond the style of Impressionism and began building form with color to paintings that were more analytical than sensory. He frequently painted scenes of the small town of L’Estaque in southern France, where he lived and worked periodically from 1870 to 1885. In an 1876 letter to his friend the Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro, he wrote of his work in L’Estaque:
"I have started two little motifs with a view of the sea…red roofs over the blue sea…The sun is so terrific here that it seems to me as if the objects are silhouetted not only in black and white, but in blue, red, brown and violet. I may be mistaken, but this seems to me to be the opposite of modeling."
In this painting, he uses interlocking shapes of bright color and diagonal brushstrokes to create the sensation of volumes in the foliage, mountains, and water.
[Label copy from Monet: Vision and Process exhibition, 2018]
Cézanne's artistic goals developed through his contact with the Impressionists. Although he was not interested in rendering particular momentary impressions, he wished to record his "sensations" of nature. This painting typifies his technique-- suggesting form and volume through interlocking shapes that are rendered with bold, diagonal brushstrokes. The bright colors deftly evoke the strong light and crystalline atmosphere of southern France.
[Gallery label text, 1999]