Tuesday, April 30, 2013


While I was staying with a friend at the French Riviera, one day we decided to go to Aix en Provence, where Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) had lived and painted. He was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th-century Impressionism and the early 20th century's new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. Both Matisse and Picasso are said to have remarked that Cézanne "is the father of us all."

For a private visitor to find Cézanne's atelier and places where he used to work is not easy to find ! Even my GPS had difficulties ! It took us to the right street but the wrong house number, so that we drove up and down the road to find a sign ! 

After a while we finally found an indication on the quiet busy road and had to go back to find a parking place because there is none ! Walking up the hill again, we finally found the entrance !

We rang the bell, the door was closed and were informed that it opened at 2 pm. It was a little our fault because we hadn't taken any information before.

The atelier in a beautiful old house

was surrounded by a wild growing garden, with beautiful trees and plants. There was even the remains of a little improvised barbecue, probably made by young painters who come here to paint or look for inspirations.

Besides a shop where you could buy books, posters and your entrance a spiral step lead to the atelier

and here it was ! All the objects he had painted where still there ! Of course it was not allowed to take pictures, but my paparazzi instinct won over and I took the pictures secretly with my little camera holding it hidden in my hands and pushed the button while looking innocently at the display. Of course I would never use a flash because it could damage the things if everybody would use it.

There was his deckchair and his bed on which he used to rest. The old stove was very pretty.

After we had visited the atelier, we were looking for the "Le terrain des peintres" (the site of painters) We had been told that it was just a few meters far from the atelier, but impossible to find ! After having asked people for the third time we finally found it and realized that we had passed the entrance several times too ! Today it's a place for young (or old) painters where they sit and paint. There also is an exposition of one of the painters, here it was a young American painter who exposed.

We also saw the photos of him painting. On the text is written that he wished to die while painting.

We then went further to a place from where he had painted the famous mountain St. Victoire. Again very difficult to find ! It is a stunning place high on a hill, overlooking the beautiful landscape. No wonder that he was inspired by the colors of the flowers and bushes !

Here, one day, Cézanne was caught in a storm while working in the field. Only after working for two hours under a downpour did he decide to go home; but on the way he collapsed. He was taken home by a passing driver. His old housekeeper rubbed his arms and legs to restore the circulation; as a result, he regained consciousness. On the following day, he intended to continue working, but later on he fainted;

The model with whom he was working called for help; he was put to bed, and he never left it again. He died a few days later, on 22 October 1906 of pneumonia here in his house which was located in the street where my friend's daughter had her flat during the University year.

She had only discovered the memory plate after a while, when you live in a famous place you don't look !

He was buried at the old cemetery in his beloved hometown of Aix-en-Provence.


Jim said...


Anonymous said...

Oh, what a lovely visit. Great shots of this charming place.

Gracie said...

I have the sweetest memories of that little town...

diane b said...

A fabulous history lesson with photos to illustrate. How nice it must have been to see all this first hand. I love his paintings.

Fun60 said...

He is my favourite artist. I love the colours especially in his landscapes. Not sure I will ever get to visit Aix-en-Provence so thank you for the photos especially those sneaky ones.

Molly said...

Thank you for sharing... I would love to visit one day but only time will tell on that


Indrani said...

Great place of the painter.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

What a fabulous place to find! Definitely worth the work getting there. Amazing.

Unknown said...

Great tour!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

A Lady's Life said...

Oh wow! Now this was interesting I love to visit places like this. :)

Joyful said...

Loved the post and the surreptitious photos. I am a lover of impressionism. Have a wonderful week. xx

Anonymous said...
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Pearl said...

nice spot to feel a connection to history. wonderful vista from there.

Annesphamily said...

Oh my goodness! I am so jealous! HeeHee! I L O V E Paul Cezanne's work!What a wonderful story you toldus here. I admire his work so very much and love art! Thank you for this beautiful story with lovely photos.

Margaret said...

Gattina, what a wonderful visit to this artist's retreat. It is easy to see why he was inspired to pursue his talents.

Jo said...

Interesting post and a beautiful place where Cezanne lived and died. He got his wish, I think, dying a few days after he had been painting in the field?


About Me

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.


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