Cézanne in Aix

Because Impressionism blossomed in Paris, a number of references to the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movement are abundant all over France.  It seems, however, that the south of France had a certain draw for a some of the most famous artists, such as Van Gogh and Renoir.  Aix-en-Provence, the birthplace and resting place of Paul Cezanne, is no different.  The dynamic town is known for more than the Post-Impressionist artist, but the citizens are indeed still proud of his influence.

At the age of 18, Cezanne began to attend drawing lessons, and continued them while studying law at the University of Aix.  At age 22, Cezanne left school to move to Paris and exclusively pursue his love of painting.  Although his father did not approve of his art, Cezanne received a sizeable fortune from his father that allowed Cezanne to focus on his art without worrying about a job.  As the Impressionist style became more acceptable in the realm of art and Cezanne became more well-known, he returned more and more often to Aix-en-Provence and Provencal region to work in isolation.  Particularly in his later landscapes, the setting is very reminiscent of his hometown.  Cezanne never could escape from the hold that Aix had on him, and returned to Provence permanently in the 1880’s despite the Paris-centric art world.  He lived in Aix-en-Provence with his family until he died in 1906.

Today, tourists are welcome to visit Cezanne’s studio, the Lauves studio.  The studio has been turned into a walk-through museum, with real artifacts from Cezanne’s life displayed in the open, in the hopes of accurately depicting his daily life.  Cezanne worked in his studio every morning for the last four years of his life, and many locals insist that the presence of Cezanne is stronger here than anywhere else.  If you’re considering visiting, remember to check when the studio is open, since it changes throughout the year depending on when the sunlight can enter the room.

As always, thanks so much for reading!

-Kayleigh Thomas

Image by Paul Cézanne – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=149081

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