SITES OF CEZANNE
(11 oils, 16 watercolours)
In 1896, Numa Coste wrote to Emile Zola: “He has rented a hut in the dam quarries and spends most of his time there.
When Cézanne set up his easel in the middle of the quarries, they had not been worked for several decades. They were worked from the Roman period until the end of the 18th century. The limestone molasses walls still have oblique grooves resulting from picks used by the quarrymen to detach the blocks from the rock.
In this chaotic landscape, abandoned by men, Cézanne painted eleven oils and sixteen watercolours between 1895 and 1904. Five motifs reproduced in his works are still identifiable today: ‘The Red Rock’ kept at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, the two ‘Bibémus Quarries’ kept at the Barnes Foundation and in the Stephen Hahn collection in New-York, ‘Bibémus quarry’, which is part of a private collection in Kansas City and ‘Mont Sainte-Victoire seen from Bibémus’, kept at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Cézanne also painted Mont Sainte- Victoire from the terrace of the hut. The city of Aix, which owns the premises, has done some landscaping in order to open the quarries to tours. The adaptations made to the site in order to welcome visitors are minimalist and consider the site to be a vast ‘archaeological dig’, a pile of blocks and an area of plant life that should not be disturbed.
The route allows you to: - compare the original motif (Sainte-Victoire, nature: pine branches and tree silhouettes but also the geometrically shaped orange ‘rocks’, which the painter used as inspiration for his striking, globally renowned works announcing Cubism), the points of view where Cézanne set up his easel, measure the composition, geometrisation and colour work, - find the hut where the artist stored his work, - go and see the rocks and the quarry, part of the history of the city of Aix, - feel the atmosphere of a preserved site, spared by time, a place outside of this world.
The landscaping has been done by Philippe Deliau and Hélène Bensoam, ALEP, landscapers based in Cadenet
Jas de Bouffan
(36 oils,17 watercolors)
Owned by the Truphème family, who were commissioners during the 18th century wars, Jas de Bouffan was bequeathed by marriage to the Joursin family, who sold it on 15 September 1859 to Louis-Auguste Cézanne, who moved in around 1870. Between 1881 and 1885, the roof of the house had to be replaced and he made a little studio in the attic for his son.
On 18 September 1899, two years after the death of Mrs Cézanne, Cézanne and his two sisters sold Jas de Bouffan to Louis Granel, an agricultural engineer trained at the Ecole Polytechnique who was from Carcassonne. In 1994, the last owner, André Corsy, sold the property to the City of Aix-en-Provence, subject to life use, with the exception of the farm. Since the end of 2002, the mansion and the grounds surrounding it, classed as Historical Monuments, have been owned by the City of Aix-en-Provence, which has just started a restoration programme on the whole house.
Between 1860 and 1870, in the large oval drawing room on the ground floor Cézanne painted twelve large compositions straight on the walls, which were removed from 1912: ‘The Four Seasons: Spring, Summer, Winter, Autumn’, ‘Portrait of the Artist’s Father, Louis-Auguste Cézanne’, ‘The Bather at the Rock’, ‘The Entrance to the Château’, ‘Romantic landscape with fishermen’, ‘Hide and seek according to Lancret’, ‘Portrait of Achille Emperaire’, ‘Contrast’, ‘Christ in Limbo’ and the ‘Penitent Magdalene’.
Between 1866 and 1895, Cézanne set up his easel in the grounds and painted thirty-six oils and seventeen watercolours of the house and farm, the groves and the chestnut walkway, the pond and its statues… Guided tours of the grounds are proposed highlighting the points of view from which Cézanne painted his many works.