Detour in Auvers Detour in Auvers

c. 1873/Oil on canvas

59.7 x 49.0 cm

Use of Images


Since 1866, Cézanne had been rejected by the Salon for four consecutive years. In 1869, the year he turned 30, he met a young model Marie-Hortense Fiquet, who would later become his wife, in Paris. In 1872, the couple had their first son Paul, and in the summer of that year, Cézanne traveled along with his family to Pontoise, where Pissarro had just moved into. He spontaneously began to execute paintings there together with Pissarro. In Auvers-sur-Oise, where Cézanne had been staying for a while, Pissarro introduced Cézanne to his physician Dr. Gachet, who was also an enthusiastic collector of avant-garde paintings, in the fall of the same year. On this occasion, Dr. Gachet recommended Cézanne to move into Auvers-sur-Oise with his family. Placing their easels side by side, Cézanne and Pissarro devoted themselves to painting together, developing a new style known as “Pontoise school,” which is characterized by the loves for pastoral themes, impasto paints and detailed painting. Under the influence of Pissarro, Cézanne abandoned his previous interest in literary themes and began to focus seriously on the visible external world of nature around him. In 1873, Cézanne eventually moved to Auvers-sur-Oise, where he spent most of that year and devoted himself to landscape paintings. The three paintings The House of the Hanged Man, A Modern Olympia and Landscape, Auvers that he created during this period were exhibited at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874, but all ended up with negative reviews. For Cézanne, however, these paintings represented his starting point as a truly important painter. As the monumental works of his early career, The House of the Hanged Man and A Modern Olympia now decorate the walls of the Musée d'Orsay. (As for the other work, Landscape, Auvers, as there is no firm evidence to identify its picture, it is speculated that the work is the one now belonging to either the Philadelphia Museum of Art or the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). The period from 1872 to 1874 when Cézanne stayed in Pontoise and Auvers was an embryonic stage for him as a painter, and it is no doubt that his meeting with the artistic mentor and patron became a decisive factor in his future developments. It should be the most precious experiences for Cézanne that he was able to engage in the execution of paintings together with his mentor Pissarro, while learning his mentor’s skilled painting techniques and sense of humility towards the nature before them. According to Dr. Gachet, Cézanne went out to sketch twice a day: “Once every morning and once every afternoon, on cloudy days and sunny days alike, he would attack the canvas as if his life depended on it. As the months and seasons passed, the spring paintings of 1873 changed to winter scenes in 1874.” Although the Detour in Auvers was not exhibited at the first Impressionist exhibition, it was one of the works Cézanne created during his first period of staying in Auvers. This work has many common elements with the other works: the curving road, the modest dwellings, the height of the viewpoint, etc. Here, Cézanne used the vertically long canvas to emphasize the path and sky. Moreover, this shows a sign of “diagonal” and “constructive” touches of brush that would later become a characteristic of his paintings. In the collection of the Musée d’Orsay there are two other works resembling this work that were produced at the same location during the same period: The Village Road, Auvers, and The House of Dr. Gachet in Auvers. In terms of their technique and their perspective, which extracts the landscape, these works employ the same approach as the Detour in Auvers and indicate how thoroughly Cézanne was practicing landscape painting at the time. As for this work, it is said that along with their friend and the painter Mary Cassatt, prominent American collectors Mr. and Mrs. Havemeyer, who were credited with first bringing Impressionist paintings to the U.S., discovered this work at the Galerie Vollard in Paris and purchased it in 1901. In a way, this work is of historic significance as the first of Cézanne’s paintings to reach the U.S. 


Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne1839-1906

List of artworks by the same artist


Exhibiton history
Origin of collections

Provenance: H.O. Havemeyer, New York (possibly purchased from Vollard in 1901)


Literature : The H.O. Havemeyer Collection : Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art, 1931, p.328 (As Landscape) Lionello Venturi, Cézanne: Son Art – Son Œuvre, Paris, 1936, vol.1, p.348 (listed) cf. John Rewald, The History of Impressionism, New York 1973, p.299 Frances Weitzenhoffer, The Havmeyers Impressionism Comes to America, New York, 1986, pl.106, illustrated in color


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