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Key facts
Full title Forest Path (Fontainebleau?)
Artist Paul Cézanne
Artist dates 1839 - 1906
Date made about 1892
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 66 × 81 cm
Acquisition credit On loan from a private collection
Inventory number L1284
Location Room 44
Art route(s) B
Image copyright On loan from a private collection, © Private collection
Collection Main Collection
Forest Path (Fontainebleau?)
Paul Cézanne

By the early 1890s Cézanne was spending most of his time in his native Provence, only occasionally travelling north to Paris. There, he would escape the capital for the countryside at Fontainebleau south-east of the city. The forest nearby had long attracted artists of earlier generations whom Cézanne admired, including Corot and Daubigny, and this work depicting a dense path through the woods, is indebted to such artists’ practice of sketching directly from nature.

A thick canopy of leaves obscures the sky as we penetrate deeper into the forest on a path that forks to the right. Sunlight pierces the foliage while the long shadows of tree trunks crossing the path serve to structure the image. Probably executed about 1892, the painting shows Cézanne at the height of his creative powers and in command of his technique as he depicted a compressed, enclosed view quite different from the wide, open landscapes of Provence.

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