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The Grounds of the Château Noir
Paul Cézanne
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The Château Noir was a rambling house situated in extensive grounds near Aix-en-Provence in the south of France. Surrounded by wild vegetation, the run-down, isolated chateau offered Cézanne many subjects, and it became one of his favourite locations. He rented a small room in the house from 1897 to 1902, and continued to paint in the grounds until his death in 1906.

In his final years Cézanne was increasingly drawn to harsh landscapes untouched by human intervention. We are looking here at a group of trees growing along a remote rocky ridge on a hill north-east of the house. The diagonal slope of the hill is so steep that the rocks seem close to tumbling out of the frame. Dense woodland that writhes up from the rocks forms a screen that almost blocks out the sky, which we only glimpse towards the top of the picture as areas of pale blue. The picture’s generally sombre colours contribute to its somewhat oppressive, even claustrophobic atmosphere.

Key facts
Artist Paul Cézanne
Artist dates 1839 - 1906
Full title The Grounds of the Château Noir
Date made about 1900-4
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 90.7 x 71.4 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1963
Inventory number NG6342
Location in Gallery Room 41
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