Paul Cézanne – Did You Know?

Did you know that the impressionist painter Paul Cézanne is a native son of Aix-en-Provence? Born on January 19, 1939 and baptized in the Église de la Madeleine (see more about this church in my previous post), he lived in Aix until his death in 1906 except for the occasional sojourn in Paris to further his artistic development. Cézanne’s technique and intense study of subject greatly influenced the 20th-century modernism movement, leading both Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso to declare him as the “father” of their work.

In fact, Picasso was so inspired that he purchased a large château in the village of Vauvenargues just outside of Aix in 1958 (he’s buried on the grounds). Situated at the foot of Mont Sainte-Victoire made famous in works by Paul Cézanne, the château’s legendary owner is said to have proclaimed “Cézanne painted these mountains and now I own them.” Cézanne’s historical importance to modern-day Aix-en-Provence remains evident. A statue of him (pictured above) presides over the Place de la Rotonde at the city center, plaques dot the city streets and buildings to denote their significance, and his former workshop has been preserved as a museum. Photo: Aixploring Provence. Illustration: Aix-en-Provence, le mag.