During the spring of 1918, while Paris was being shelled by long-range German artillery, Rivera and his wife, Angeline Beloff, rented a room in the home of Rivera’s Danish friends, the artists Adam and Ellen Fisher, who lived in the Parisian suburb of Arcueil. It was there that Rivera finally abandoned Cubism, producing works like this watercolor, in the more classical style of Cézanne. According to Luis-Martin Lozano, “the use of watercolors allowed him to superimpose color over drawing, giving the composition transparency and the same inseparable visual unity that forms have in nature.” (“Diego Rivera, Classicus Sum,” Art and Revolution, v.i., p. 145)
Of this period of Rivera’s work, Dr. Ramón Favela writes: “By January of 1918, Rivera had rejected Cubism altogether and embarked upon a style bordering on pure Cézannisme that produced such works as his Landscape at Arcueil and Still Life (1918). Such later French works by Rivera as his Piquey landscapes and series of aqueducts from Arcueil are almost indistinguishable from original late Cézannes with their compositions and subdued palette of ochres, green, pale blues, and deep umbers. Rivera’s Landscape at Arcueil is clearly derivative from such works as Cézanne’s Bend in Road at Montgeroult. Rivera’s ‘realist reaction’ against prevalent wartime cubism of the Parisian avant-garde was only reinforced by his meeting with the ardent champion of Cézanne, the physician art historian, Élie Faure, at the end of the war. Rivera’s Portrait of Élie Faure and the stunning Mathematician are masterful testimonies to how profoundly Rivera came to understand the formally constructionist aims of the artist he came to call ‘Father Cézanne’.” (Diego Rivera: The Cubist Years, 1985, p. 121).
This work will be included in the Diego Rivera catalogue raisonné now in preparation by Dr. Ramón Favela (catalogue of works of the Parisian period, 1909-1921.)
Dr. Germain, Paris
Yvette Moch, Paris
Private collection, New York
Martigny (Switzerland), Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Diego Rivera–Frida Kahlo, Jan. 24–June 1, 1998, no. 27, p. 108, illus. in color in the catalogue
Diego Rivera. Art and Revolution. Exhibition catalogue, Mexico, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, 1999, illustrated in color, p. 144