Aix-en-Provence’s MUSÉE GRANET presents Cézanne in Provence
In 1901, Aix-en-Provence’s Musée Granet curator Henri Pontier said of painter Paul Cézanne, “Never in my lifetime will one of his works enter here.” In his lifetime? No. One hundred years later, the museum is embracing him in its exhibition Cézanne in Provence.
Not many painters personify the stereotype of the tortured artist as well as Paul Cézanne. During his life- time, he was laughed at, insulted, taken for insane. He lost friendships, neglected his family, cut himself from the outer world. And yet he always remained true to his oft-misunderstood principles of painting.
Cézanne’s life follows a trail of rejection and deception. His father, a successful retailer, was not interested in art and wished his son had beoame a lawyer. Sensing his father would disapprove of his love affair with Hortense Fiquet, Cézanne hid the existence of their son Paul, born in 1872, from him until their marriage in 1886.
Cézanne left his home in Provence to conquer the Parisian art scene, only to meet with failure—his works were refused by every museum and salon he entered.
It was during his time in Paris that his longtime friend, Emile Zola—whom Cézanne had often protected from bullies as a child— sent the painter a copy of the novel l’Oeuvre, whose main character was a failed artist. Recognizing himself as the inspiration for the book’s pathetic portrait of a man, Cézanne felt a profound sadness and the event precipitated the end of his relationship with Zola.
Cézanne soon returned to his childhood surroundings in Aix-en-Provence, preferring to live the life of a recluse. He spent months away from his wife and son; during this time late in his life, the few young artists interested in Cézanne’s work even assumed he was dead.
Like so many innovative artists, it was not until after his death that Cézanne gained recognition. His revolutionary dissecting of the nuances of visual perception later sparked the brushes of Picasso and Matisse, catalyzing the emergence of Modern Art. Featuring 117 of the artist’s works, Cézanne in Provence welcomes the pro- lific talents of an artist who—despite a lifetime of rejection—deeply loved his homeland.With this exhibition, Aix-en-Provence finally returns the sentiment.