During the 1880s in France, a group of young artists began to question the assumptions that underlay Impressionism. Later known as the Post-Impressionists, they moved away from the emphasis on naturalism in Impressionism towards a greater interest in abstract pattern-making and color used for expressive effect. Although they often favored traditional subject matter (as in the focus of Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne on peasant life), their radical formal experiments paved the way for the modern painters of the early 20th century.

Vincent van Gogh described himself as an “arbitrary colorist” who aimed to “exaggerate” what he saw in order to express strong emotion. Paul Gauguin sought to create work in which effects of abstract pattern and flat color were more important than fidelity to natural appearances. Paul Cézanne focused on a sense of structure and monumentality in his paintings in contrast to the spontaneous “captured moments” of Impressionism. Georges Seurat pioneered a pointillist technique that involved the separation of pure color into dots in order to create effects of heightened luminosity.

Van Gogh’s Restaurant Rispal at Asnières, acquired in 1979, was the first work purchased by the Blochs at auction. They subsequently also bought their two Cézanne paintings at auction. Few major pictures by Cézanne are outside public museums and these were rare examples of works of this quality to appear on the market. Although the Bloch Collection works have rarely been exhibited, the Quarry at Bibémus did recently appear in the exhibition, Cézanne in Provence, at the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Georges Seurat, French, 1859 - 1891
The Channel at Gravelines, Petit-Fort-Philippe (Le chenal de Gravelines, Petit-Fort-Philippe), 1890

Paul Signac, French, 1863 - 1935
Portrieux, The Bathing Cabins, Opus 185 (Beach of the Countess) (Portrieux, Les cabinés, Opus 185 [Plage de la comtesse]), 1888

Vincent van Gogh, Dutch, 1853 - 1890
Restaurant Rispal at Asnières (Le restaurant Rispal à Asnières), 1887

Paul Gauguin, French, 1848 - 1903
The Willow Tree (Le saule), 1889

Paul Cézanne, French, 1839 - 1906
Man with a Pipe (L'homme à la pipe), 1890-1892

Paul Cézanne, French, 1839 - 1906
Quarry at Bibémus (Carrière de Bibémus), 1898-1900

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