A visit to Aix-en-Provence commands a visit to Paul Cézanne’s studio. It was here, from 1901-1906, that Cézanne’s feverish devotion to the region manifested in full force. It was here that he lived his final days, painting obsessively, to the point of sickness. In 1906, he was out painting in the nearby foothills of the Sainte-Victoire mountain when a major storm came to pass and he was caught in it. He fell ill and in a few days time died from complications of that illness and exposure. His devotion to the territory around this studio was unrelenting.
La Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue des Lauves, 1902-1906 65 x 81 cm, Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Sainte-Victoire mountain today
The studio was set in a pastoral environment; it was framed by the majestic Sainte-Victoire mountain (28 paintings were produced of the mountain during this time), the nearby Bibémus quarry and his selection of precious objects that still sit in the studio today. All of these he paid tribute to in his prolific paintings of this time period.
Buying the studio itself was a dream of Cézanne’s - its location, the light, the space. Cézanne was never a wealthy or highly recognized artist, but rather a poor and obsessive painter who had a true passion for Provence.
It is a wonder to stand in the room itself and gaze upon the objects there as he once did: the earthenware bowls and jars, glasses, skulls, a cupid statuette, chairs, a chest of drawers - all effortlessly recognizable to anyone who loves his work. His palette is still there - still marked with the paint he once used, along with his famous Mac-Farlane coat, his felt bowler hat, a beret, his smock and the parasols he used while painting outside. The walls of the studio are a blue-gray, a perfectly matte shade to absorb light and create a neutral background for his work.
Not to miss on a trip to Aix-en-Provence. Plan a visit.