On the side of a hill behind a stone wall not far from the centre of Aix-en-Provence lies the house and studio of Paul Cezanne set amidst a large garden. You will, undoubtedly feel the presence of the painter still and recognise many of the objects that he painted.
Paul Cezanne was born in Aix-en-Provence in January 1839.
It was in 1860 that his feeling for painting drew him towards clumsy copies of work in the museum. Although obeying his father, he agreed to study law, he usually forgot to open his books. His father capitulated finally allowing him to go to Paris to continue his art studies. Six months later he returned to Aix to begin work with his father. He did not appreciate the Parisian lifestyle, became depressed and spent his days in the Louvre Museum. He returned again to Paris at the end of 1862 where thanks to Pissarro he met amongst others Claude Monet and Pierre-August Renoir.
In the cafes he avoided discussion as he detested being contradicted and is said to have become very angry when thwarted. In 1863 he fell in love with the painting ‘Dejeuner su l’herbe’ by Edouard Manet. In his turn, several years later Manet himself fell in love with the still-lifes of Cezanne. Despite the admiration of the artists who knew him, Cezanne’s paintings did not sell well. They even annoyed, one of his canvasses exhibited in a boutique in Marseilles, created so much anger among the crowd that it had to be withdrawn. With the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 he returned to the south with his model Hortense Fiquet whom he later married. He wanted to learn about the new impressionist manner with its light touches, its broken up colour and its interest in the play of light.
In 1874 he took part in the first exhibition organised by the impressionist group and again in the second in 1877. However he was still more or less unrecognised and his financial position was becoming more unstable. His father discovered his liaison with Hortense and indignant, reduced his allowance. The death of his father in 1886 put an end to his financial problems as he inherited a small fortune.
Nature often inspired the paintings of Cezanne and his love for nature gave his paintings an added depth, though perhaps he is best known for his still lifes. On October 16 1906 whilst painting outside he was caught in an unexpected storm, thoroughly soaked through he had to be carried home. He subsequently died shortly after on October 22.
Join us on tour – Country Roads France in Spring Time and enjoy the visit of the home and studio of the remarkable French painter Paul Cezanne - an intimate glimpse of the man and the painter.