Paul Cezanne

The Gardener Vallier


Image released under

License this image

Paul Cezanne 1839–1906
Original title
Le Jardinier Vallier
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 654 × 549 mm
frame: 869 × 762 × 103 mm
Bequeathed by C. Frank Stoop 1933

Display caption

Vallier was the gardener and odd-job man at Cézanne's house near Aix-en-Provence. This is one of six portraits of him, and was probably painted in the summer and autumn of 1906, not long before Cézanne's death in October that year. It follows Cézanne's method of capturing the exact tone of each element – both the shade of colour and its degree of luminosity – in distinct but overlapping brushstrokes, sometimes reflecting slight shifts in the artist’s perspective. Cézanne's ability to combine such elements into a single, unified composition was a very significant influence on the development of Cubism.

Gallery label, May 2011

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

Catalogue entry

Paul Cézanne 1839-1906

N04724 Le Jardinier Vallier (The Gardener Vallier) 1906

Not inscribed
Oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 21 5/8 (65.5 x 55)
Bequeathed by C. Frank Stoop 1933
Prov: With Ambroise Vollard, Paris; C. Frank Stoop, London
Exh: Paintings by Cézanne, RSA, Edinburgh, August-September 1954 (65); Tate Gallery, September-October 1954 (65); Les Sources du XXe Siècle, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, November 1960-January 1961 (88); Cézanne: Les Dernières Années (1895-1906), Grand Palais, Paris, April-July 1978 (16, repr.)
Lit: J.B. Manson, 'Mr Frank Stoop's Modern Pictures' in Apollo, X, 1929, p.132, repr. in colour facing p.132 and on cover; Lionello Venturi, Cézanne: son Art - son Oeuvre (Paris 1936), No.715, Vol.1, p.219, repr. Vol.2, pl.233 (dated 1900-6); Douglas Cooper, 'Two Cézanne Exhibitions II' in Burlington Magazine, XCVI, 1954, p.380; Lawrence Gowing, 'Notes on the Development of Cézanne' in Burlington Magazine, XCVIII, 1956, p.192; Ian Dunlop and Sandra Orienti, The Complete Paintings of Cézanne (London 1972), No.616, p.114 repr. and pl.63 in colour (dated 1900-6)
Repr: Adrian Stokes, Cézanne (London 1947), in colour pl.1 and on cover

A portrait of Vallier, Cézanne's gardener and odd-job man. Cézanne seems to have begun to use him as a model in 1905, or perhaps the beginning of 1906, when he painted three larger pictures of him in a dark peaked cap and a dark suit (Venturi Nos.716-7 and a picture now in the National Gallery, Washington, not in Venturi), which are predominantly deep bluish green and almost blackish blue in colour. This picture belongs to a further group of three (Venturi Nos.718, 1524 and this work), all the same size and with a completely different colour range, showing him in his summer clothes, with a soft, wide-brimmed hat and a shirt or blouse, which he seems to have painted in the summer and autumn of 1906, shortly before his death. It is very similar in colour and handling to 'Le Cabanon de Jourdan' (Venturi No.805), which is said to be Cézanne's last landscape painting, while the portrait of Vallier Venturi No.718 is the picture on which Cézanne was working in the garden, under a lime tree, when he was finally taken ill in October 1906 and came back dying. Venturi No.718 shows Vallier close up in more or less the same pose as in the present work, but half-length and in profile. Venturi No.1524, which was left in a very sketchy and unfinished state, corresponds almost exactly to the present work in composition. The two watercolours Venturi No.1092 and particularly No.1566 are also closely related to the Tate's version.

The canvas has been left bare in a number of places.

Published in:
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.108-9, reproduced p.108

You might like

In the shop