Oil on canvas
24 ½ x 20 ¾ inches (62 x 53 cm)
Framed: 27 x 23 inches (68 x 58 cm)
Signed lower right: J Cavailles
Private Collection, USA
Musée Ville de Paris, exhibited as: Paysage avant figure a l’expostion 1937, Paris
Jules Cavaillès was a well-known and versatile French Post-Impressionist artist. He worked in oils, gouache, and pastel and his subject matter was wide ranging, but his specialty was still lifes. His work is represented in many leading collections and museums, including the Modern Art Museum in Paris, and other museums in the United States and Europe.
At the outset of his career, he was introduced to “le père Artigue,” a friend of artist Henri Martin, who encouraged him to go to Paris to study fine art. In 1922, he arrived in Paris with his wife, Rose, and in 1925 he enrolled at the Académie Julian and began exhibiting at various Parisian salons from 1928: the Société des Artistes Français, Société des Artistes Indépendants, and Salon d’Automne.
Although Cavaillès began to sell his work in 1922, he and Rose opened a small grocery store to generate more income for art materials. Shortly after, he was invited to participate at the Salon des Tuileries, and in 1936 he organized the 14th exhibition of the Artistes de ce temps in the Petit-Palais. In the same year he received the prestigious Grant Blumenthal and he was soon awarded the commission to decorate the Pavilion of Languedoc for the Exposition Universelle. He became part of a group of artists called La Realite Poetique.
His artistic style is characterized by the juxtaposition of pure color, derived from an interpretation of fauvist painting, but reflecting the simple expression of joie de vivre. He cultivated subjects which represented the pleasures of life, in bold and cheerful color.
Our painting captures the essence of the artist’s oeuvre. It is an early work, which was prominently on display at the 1937 Exhibition at the Musée Ville de Paris. The artist portrays the scene from a Parisian window. The viewer looks onto an orderly maze of fences and buildings, punctuated with green patches and bare trees. Buildings in earthy colors form the backdrop, while a courtyard with a leafless tree is featured in the foreground. The muted palatte is decidedly warm in tone, and paired with the bare trees, is evocative of the last warm breaths of autumn before the chill of winter sets in.