Othon Friesz 1879-1949
N06179 Le Château de Falaise (soir) (The Castle of Falaise (evening)) 1904
Inscribed 'E.O. Friesz | 04' b.l. and (probably by another hand) 'Friesz Falaise (Calvados)' on stretcher
Oil on canvas, 28 ¾ x 23 5/8 (73 x 60)
Presented by Dr. Hermann Ganz 1953
Prov: Amédée Schuffenegger, Paris (purchased from the artist?); Schuffenegger heirs; Dr. Hermann Ganz, Paris and Zurich, 1936
Exh: Tableaux de E. Othon Friesz, Galerie des Collectionneurs, Paris, April-May 1904 (12) as 'Le Château de Falaise (soir)'; Französische Meister der Gegenwart, Kunsthalle, Bern, February-March 1937 (122)
Although presented under the title 'The Castle and Town of Falaise', this picture is almost certainly the one exhibited in April-May 1904 as 'The Castle of Falaise (evening)'. This is borne out by the low source of light, with the rocks in the foreground in deep shadow, and by the pinkish flush on the buildings from the setting sun. It shows the Norman castle of Falaise from the west, viewed from the rocks of Mont Mirat, looking across the narrow valley of the Ante. The castle is famous as the birthplace of William the Conqueror.
Mme Friesz says that Othon Friesz spent two years at Falaise when he was very young, probably just after his military service. At that period he was very poor and spent a great part of his time at Falaise in an old house which he called 'Les Hautes Folies'. It is there that he made the whole of this series in which one already sees an attempt in certain pictures to break away from Impressionism. (Letter of 19 November 1953).
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.226-7, reproduced p.226