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The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

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Paul Cezanne – Impressionist Influencer


French Country Travel Life Artist. Monet. Sisley. Pissarro. Francoise Cariou. And, of course, Cezanne.

While all French Artists had a singular contribution to make, Paul Cezanne’s was one of the most unique and significant; in that he was the bridge between Impressionisim and the Post-Impressionists.

So great was his influence on other artists that Picasso and Matisse proclaimed: “Cezanne is the Father of us all.”

My fellow scribbler Anne Elder has an overview of Cezanne’s life, work, and his particular relation to a mountain:

Between 1902 and 1906, Paul Cézanne walked into the north of Aix-en-Provence twice a day, every day. He would walk up the hill to the quiet Terre des Peintres for its stunning vantage point of Gardanne and Montagne Sainte-Victoire, a beacon of Provence and the subject of many of his paintings.

And now, more than a century after his death in 1906, the impressionist painter’s influence can still be found all over the city: from restaurant and school names, to museum exhibitions, and perhaps most noticeably, a gold plaque-marked walking path through the city, highlighting everywhere from where Cézanne lived to where he died.

Whether you are an expat or a Francophile traveler, it’s easy to walk where Cézanne walked through Aix, even unintentionally. But to truly experience his impact on the city, there are four sites you cannot miss.

Begin at Cézanne’s atelier, which can be found just north of Aix-en-Provence. His workshop has been preserved just as it was when he was painting there in his later years. The walls, decorated with skulls, tiny mannequins and fruits, are the same blueish gray that Cézanne himself mixed for optimal light reflection. And the open panel in the wall, where he would push his larger canvases through to examine them in the light, is still open.

From the atelier, follow directly in Cézanne’s footsteps and walk up the hill to the Terrain des Peintres yourself. Today, the platform is enveloped by his paintings of the famous Montagne Sainte-Victoire and Gardanne, all still visible and peeking through the fields of oliviers.

Cézanne was well into his 60s when he made his voyages to the Terrain – 20 minutes from his atelier and 40 from his apartment – lugging easels and paints and canvases to capture the orange tiled roofs, oliviers, and of course, the mountain herself.

Sainte-Victoire is a sort of calling card for Provence. She is visible from the Aix TGV train station and from bus routes spanning nearly to Marseille. At the summit lies la Croix de Provence, a large cross most visible from the north side of the mountain. The mountain is representative of the region, and of Cézanne’s canon.

When Cézanne was alive and painting in Aix, the owner of the Musée Granet said there would never be any of the painter’s work exhibited as long as he was running the museum. Nestled in Aix’s Quartier Mazarin, it now has a room dedicated to ‘le père de l’art moderne‘ (father of modern art), where ten of his canvases are on display.

Read more HERE.


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21 Responses to “Paul Cezanne – Impressionist Influencer”

  1. carl meaners says:

    very informative post. had no idea cezanne was such an influence on picasso and matisse.

  2. alexandra stone says:

    nice to get the context, aix, etc, as well as knowing more about the artist and his work. bravo (again!)

  3. bill winters says:

    what amazes me is how many times he painted the same subject…and how individual each portrait is!

  4. genni graham says:

    bill…..uh…could that be the mark of a great artist?

  5. bill winters says:

    genni…absolutely! ( would have said it myself if i wasn’t such a butthead!)

  6. ann barker says:

    incredible to imagine at 60 plus he was trudging up the hill every dy to paint the same mountain. talke abour presistence§

  7. sharon marks says:

    ann..the word is : COMITTMENT!

  8. ann barker says:

    sharon: right on!

  9. clive andrews says:

    great photos..really gives you the atmosphere.

  10. cindi launder says:

    just a wonderful inspiring post. many thanks to DA BG and your “fellow scribbler!”

  11. mel geddes says:

    yet another reminder of the many “treasures of france.”

  12. paula steen says:

    nice to have a change from all the tour de france and wine stuff (altho’ they do have their place; truly an amazing artist.

  13. al breener says:

    if i’m not muddling uip my fcts(which could very well be the case) wasn’t emile zola one of his pals?

  14. sheila watson says:

    al…i think you’re right (although i’m not absolutely certain -lol!)

  15. henry fields says:

    wasn’t aware that he opened the door to cubism. now i know. thanks to da bg!

  16. candance morgan-whyte says:

    francoise cariou is a new french artist for me…..but a very welcome one. i spent about half an hour on her site. my verdict: a MAJOR contemporary French Artist!

  17. carla stavers says:

    After reading this..and seeing the photos…i can understand why france hgas produced so many great artists.

  18. jill morrow says:

    carla…not to mention many great wines!

  19. carla stavers says:



  20. randy block says:

    visited aix last year and you DO see the presence of cezanne everywhere.

  21. marion imhoff says:

    one of my favorite french painters..so very glad to read this excellent article…

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