This was painted on site standing in Caline’s living room looking out on her intense violet blue mountain background with the knurly, twisted French pines trees that grow despite the heat there. Chateau Noir is just beyond the crooked trees.
This is one of my favorites, maybe because of where it was painted (one of my favorite places in the world), or because it doesn’t have a focal point (except for the slash of red lining one of the trees), and yet, somehow, it seems to function to me. Whatever. I enjoy this painting every day.
Chateau Noir, Aix en Provence, France
In 2008 I visited my dear friend and fellow artist Caline de Gasquet at her home in a heavenly spot above Aix en Provence. While there I had the extremely rare opportunity to paint Chateau Noir, an 18th century unfinished castle made up of tiny pieds-à-terre around a courtyard. The residents of the pieds-à-terre covet their privacy, as does the gentleman who owns the Chateau Noir. He is a bit sauvage, like the forest he lives in. So, it was, that I painted for three days until he ran me off, and who can blame him? he loves his privacy. and he is tired of people from all over the world wanting to come and visit.
It was an adventure just to get over there. Out of Celine's back door just a hundred yards or so, there is a fifteen to twenty-foot drop down some huge boulders, so typical in Provence. To get down the large boulders, I found a good sturdy rope, tied it to a small tree and cantilevered over. Not a problem after you do it once. Then Chateau Noir was just a short walk peeking through the trees. It was here that Cezanne painted some of his somber forest paintings, in which one can see Mont Saint Victoire in the distance. Many museums have tried in vain to document and photograph this eerie edifice, so you are viewing paintings from a place in the world that few have seen.
|About This Painting|
|Medium||Oil on Canvas|
|Size (inches)||16 x 20|
|Size (centimeters)||40.6 x 50.8|