Nestled in the hills above Aix-en-Provence, the Atlelier Cézanne, or the Cézanne Studio, is a museum devoted to the life and works of its namesake. The studio, the upper floor of a Provençal country house, was commissioned by the artist in 1902 and remained his place of work until his death in 1906, a tranquil retreat with a blooming garden and expansive views over the surrounding countryside.
Since opening its doors in 1954, the museum has set to preserve the studio as left by Cézanne, with many of the artist’s personal effects and inspirational objects laid out around the room. Cézanne’s easel and paints lie in the spot where masterpieces like Les Grandes Baigneuses (The Large Bathers) and La Femme à la Cafétière (The Woman with the Coffee Pot) were created; elsewhere, vases, scarves and fruits are laid out into carefully construed still art creations. Fans will recognize many of the seemingly mundane objects, like the skulls from Cézanne’s iconic 1901 painting, Pyramid of Skulls, or the coffee pot that inspired La Femme à la Cafétière.
While art lovers may bemoan the lack of actual artwork on display at the studio, the museum’s allure lies in its simplicity – an evocative space that feels as though the artist himself could return at any moment. The effect is further dramatized by the use of the space for video screenings, most notably the atmospheric films shown in the garden during summer evenings.