Paul Cézanne is rightly remembered for his important contribution to the rise of Modernism in the twentieth century. His paintings introduced a novel visual language of form, perspective, and structure, challenging age-old conventions in the formal arrangement of a picture. "Trees and Houses near the Jas de Bouffan" was painted "sur le motif," directly from nature, its view taken south of the Jas de Bouffan, the Cézanne family residence near Aix-en-Provence. Cézanne treats his subject with great economy: his brush marks are lean and articulated, his palette of yellows and greens is relatively simple, and areas of the canvas are unbrushed, exposing ground in patches that read as color. All his life, Cézanne played with spatial relationships in nature, whether working from life or from memory. Here the bare, attenuated trees appear as a frieze against the zones of recessive color, applied as though watercolor, not oil, were the medium.
Ambroise Vollard, Paris; The Paul Guillaume Gallery, London, by 1929; Brandon Davis, London; Galerie Paul Rosenberg (?); Gabriel Cognaq, Paris, by 1936; Cognacq sale, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, May 14, 1952 [see Paris 1952b], no. 27, pl. 25 (as Paysage--Arbres et maisons); purchased at the 1952 Cognacq sale by Sam Salz, New York; acquired from Sam Salz, New York, by Robert Lehman, New York 1952.