Trees and Villages

Arbres et villages

Here is another view of the village of Eygalières that Derain produced while staying in Provence in 1932. This one, entitled "The Road", RF 1963-43, shows the village illuminated by the sun standing out above the road that leads from Eygalières to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. This work is suffused with all the beauty of the Mediterranean landscape and the heat of the summer. The sunlight on the village comes from the right. The warm colours define the different elements in the composition - trees, land, stones - and contrast with the intense blue of the sky. The plane trees create a frame for the village.
"Trees and Villages" offers here a more dramatic view of the same village, dominated by a stormy sky with white and grey low clouds. André Derain had confided: "The drama of the countryside is in the way the sky and the earth come together." A line of trees reveals a narrow country lane leading up to the village, rather than a wide road. The blocks of colour used for the fields and vegetation, as well as the village, define the areas of light and shade. The art historian Elie Faure (1873-1937) sums it up well in her book on Derain from 1923: "The tree in the landscape only seems to be there to condense and capture the solitude."

Provenance: Paul Guillaume; Domenica Walter