Cézanne, Montagne Sainte Victoire and I…

Victory Mountain

My painting of Montagne Sainte Victoire, 'Victory Mountain'

January 19th was Paul Cézanne 172nd birthday and this got me thinking and reminiscing about my love for this artist whom I look upon as my Art mentor…

My deep connection with the great painter Paul Cézanne,‘ the father of us all’ , (a line attributed to both Matisse and Picasso) dates from my first visit to Paris and an Art Gallery/Museum in 1954 . I was 9 years old.

It was during that visit with my parents, and I must admit that my objective at the time was to see and go to the top of the ‘Tour Eiffel’, that my introduction to ‘La Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume’, and the works from Pissaro, Monet, Manet, Cézanne, Degas, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Seurat, had the greatest impact on my life.

All paintings remained there until 1986 until they were moved to the Musée d’Orsay when it opened. I still remember walking in, going around the rooms, mesmerized… My passion for colour was born.

I had been introduced to some of these artists at home, through art books with some reproductions but nothing like seeing the paintings in situ… Art has to be seen ‘in the flesh’ to fully connect with the artist. I still feel the impact of these amazing works of art;  the colours especially. The feeling of joy and the incredible warmth! I felt so happy… these paintings, dancing and singing with colours showed me how beautiful nature really is… the harmony of colours.

I was in my early teens when I visited Aix en Provence and its beautiful region, and when my connection to Montagne Sainte Victoire and Paul Cezanne was sealed, especially during a visit to the painter’s studio.

I suppose that, as a painter, it is in this part of France, down to the blue Mediterranean, that I find my inspiration. Everything takes my breath away. It is my landscape.

My family will tell you how emotional I get driving through this beautiful landscape, on the way to the sea, each year… yearning I could be here always. I cannot wait to see it again soon when my husband and I move an hour away from this very special mountain… I am so very fortunate indeed.

“The countryside lay before me – a tangle of olive branches, the town of Aix in the sunlight mauve-coloured, nestled among the surrounding hills – and there as beautiful as always Sainte Victoire, mauve, pink, blue – to convey through colours the harmony of nature – as if you could smell those colours – the blue of the pine tree, the green scent of the meadows, the vines, the fragrance of the stones, the red earth and the marble of the distant Sainte Victoire – it must be conveyed on the canvas – only through colours.”

Paul Cézanne – from a letter to Emile Bernard – 1890

6 Responses to “Cézanne, Montagne Sainte Victoire and I…”

  1. elly wright says:

    Annick we have so much in common. My first visit to Paris was when I was 18 – the Jeu de Paume was still in full swing with all the great impressionist (post impressionis) painters there. What a joy it was. And seeing Monet’s waterlillies in the Orangerie a few years later, moved me to tears. Art can be a very emotional thing and I am so happy for you that you are moving to the South of France. I’m sure we’ll meet in France some time (probably easier than in UK. Love the blog, love the painting and good luck.

    • Annick says:

      Elly, thank you so much and reading your comment I can see that we have much in common..I love your art and you are also a colour lover..yes Monet’s waterlilies at the Orangerie..sublime.. When I lived in Paris in late 60’s early seventies, I used to go regularly to the Jeu de Paume and sit and stare at those wonderful paintings… We are fortunate to have had that experience of connecting with such great Art .
      Yes, come and visit when you are in your house in the Lot…we can delight in the beautiful landscape and share a glass or two of Cotes de Provence!

  2. sam banister says:

    I didn’t think too much of my first glimpse of a Cezanne – it was at a private collection at the RA – whilst working in London. I was more impressed with the fact that this was someone’s private collection and they had Cezanne’s sketches through to finished work amongst others.

    Some years later I moved to Scotland and went to Lieth School of Art where we had an amazing tutor who introduced me to Cezanne and his way of painting. I loved it. I took my time the next time I saw Cezanne’s work at the Russian Exhibition in London. It all began to fall into place.

    My tutor also mentioned the book of letters between Bonnard and Matisse which I had forgotten about until I read your blog.

    Enjoy France Annick and your painting – really inspiring to see examples on facebook!

    Hoping to set up a website of my own soon!

    Regards Sam

    • Annick says:

      Sam…I am so happy to read your post and your story about your discovery of Cezanne and his work..I understand how you felt when you first saw his sketches and some of his work..how fortunate to have seen these. Isn’t it wonderful to find a good tutor/teacher and to be able to respond and take his/her teaching to heart..I hope you read the book of letters between Bonnard and Matisse, it is so wonderful.
      I am looking forward to France and I feel my work will ‘grow’ ..I will enjoy my painting even more, I am sure.
      Please post some of your work on my fbpage , love to see it . Look forward to see your website, I am very happy with mine and do contact Metatempus if you need some help. I recommend them.
      Thank you again for your kind comments.
      And as Matisse would say ‘ Vive la peinture.!’

  3. sam banister says:

    thanks Annik ….I’ll try post some to your fb page – have just uploaded a new one on mine …. I’ll tag it to you! When do you move to France?

    Regards Sam

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