Paul Cézanne

Paul Cezanne Self-Portrait with Bowler HatIf you want to follow in Paul Cézanne's footsteps, you will find no shortage of places to visit in Aix en Provence, where the artist was born in 1839, and where he died in 1906, having spent almost all his life there.

All the major Cézanne sites are reviewed here. Scroll down to see the key locations around Aix en Provence and click here for our guide to a Cézanne-themed drive or ride around the Mont Sainte Victoire.

Click here to read about L'Estaque, the nearby fishing port which was another of his favourite haunts and subjects, here to read a review of the Musée Granet, the museum in Aix which once refused to accept his work (and now rues the day) and here to read about an offbeat children's thriller inspired by the theft of a painting by Cézanne, who appears briefly in the book as one of the characters.

 

 

News for Paul CezanneA new film shot in Aix and the countryside around Mont Saint Victoire explores the tense and complex rivalry between Cézanne and one of the greatest writers of the 19th century. The English subtitled version is now available on DVD and you can order it from Amazon here.

Cézanne and Émile Zola were childhood friends and remained close for decades. But their relationship came under huge strain when Zola achieved fame and wealth for blockbuster novels such as L'Assommoir (1877) and Germinal (1885).

Meanwhile Cézanne had plunged into bold experiments in art that were later hailed as revolutionary. But his genius went unrecognised.

Then in 1886 Zola published a novel, L'Oeuvre (it's called The Work of Art or The Masterpiece in English), about a failed artist who ends by tragically losing confidence in himself.

Cézanne took offence, guessing - probably correctly - that the character was in part based on him. Cézanne et Moi (Cézanne and I) explores this gripping story, tracing the two men's lives over 40 years.

Cézanne was born in Aix and spent most of his life there, while Zola grew up in the city before moving to Paris in his teens.

cezanne and meAnd many familiar Aix landmarks, such as the place d'Albertas, pictured, and the place de Archevêché have been given makeovers for the film to whisk them back in time to the late 19th century.

Cézanne and I is conceived by the Oscar-nominated writer-director Danièle Thompson. Guillaume Gallienne (Marie Antoinette) is cast as Cézanne while Guillaume Canet (The Beach; Merry Christmas) plays Zola.

Cezanne: A Life by Alex DanchevCézanne: A Life, by Alex Danchev is the first major new biography of the artist for many decades.

The Professor of International Relations at Nottingham University, Danchev is not a traditional art historian and comes at his subject from an unusual angle, partly drawing on the (fictional) work of Cézanne's boyhood friend, the novelist Emile Zola.

His biography has received rave reviews in The Sunday Times, The Spectator and elsewhere as a revealing and sympathetic portrait of a man who has always previously been regarded as prickly, physically awkward and aloof. Find Cézanne: A Life on Amazon.

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Cupid by Francois Dusqueno in Cezanne's studio at Les LauvesThe studio where Cézanne worked till the end of his life, the Atelier des Lauves is steeped in the artist's personality. It displays his painting materials and personal belongings as if he had just popped out for air.

Pavement stud on the Paul Cezanne walk in Aix en ProvenceIn a couple of hours you can connect with Paul Cézanne's spirit on a leisurely self-guided walk through the heart of Aix past many of his haunts.

The front approach to the Jas de BouffanThe Jas de Bouffan is the intensely atmospheric mansion where Paul Cézanne worked, on and off, for 40 years and produced some of his greatest art.

The Bibemus QuarriesHidden in a pine forest high on a sandstone plateau, the brooding Bibémus Quarries are a majestic location and Paul Cézanne mined them for inspiration at the peak of his career.

Study for The Card Players by Paul CezanneYou'll often find them in a provençal bar: players engrossed in a game of cards. And, as with his celebrated cycle on the Mont Sainte Victoire, Cézanne was fascinated by these peasants and returned to them again and again.

jas de bouffan galaLike most artists, Paul Cézanne liked to hang out in the most beautiful spots in town. And in summer his haunts in Aix are more than historic sights: they become the backdrops for some magical social occasions.

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