Meditations on visiting Atelier Cézanne

Entrance: Atelier Cézanne
Expo: Paul Cézanne 2006 Aix-en-Provence

Of all the things I have seen in my visiting and living here in la belle France, the most unforgettable  moments were spent in Atelier  Cézanne. A magical experience which left me in a trance like state with the hair standing up on the back of my neck. It was as if the master had just stepped out and would return at any moment.

After returning to California, a friend asked me to write a poem about Art and France. My first response is that they could not be separated. Art is the loom that the tapestry of France was woven upon. The following poem was the result of that request and has been published previously in an anthology.

“Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one’s sensations.”  – Paul Cézanne

“There are two things in the painter, the eye and the mind; each of them should aid the other.”  – Paul Cézanne

“Don’t be an art critic. Paint. There lies salvation.”  – Paul Cézanne

Meditations on visiting Atelier Cézanne


One hundred years

After his death

The doors to his shrine

Open to the masses

I but a privileged pilgrim

A witness – I inhale deeply

The plethora of scent

Aging fruits

A wicker basket

Darkened by harvests of the past

A long shelf balanced

Across the western wall

Dusquenoy’s cupid keeps company

With the three skulls of death

Enlightenment radiates

From the northern exposure

A burst of light

Color spreads wantonly

I am humbled in each direction

Le choeur fantôme

Intone hymns of praise


Peaches, apples and summers long ago

And talk of the fields they have known

Stars they raised up to

Rain, love of sun

Dreams of freshness of an old apple

Home is Aix-en-Provence


He paints their secrets

With celestial vision

And transparency


En français


Méditation en Visitant l’Atelier de Cézanne


Cent Années

Après sa mort

Les portes de son sanctuarie sacré

Ouvrent au public

Pas un pèlerin privilégié

Mais un témoin

Profondement j’ai à inhaler

Un plethora de parfum

Dans un panier noirci en osier

À cause de

Plusieurs récoltes passées

Accompagné de trios cranes de mort

L’ange Cupidon de Dusquenoy a pose

Sur un rayon qui

À travers le mur occidental est allongé

Grâce à l’ exposition boréale

L’éclaircissement a rayonné

Un jet de lumière don’t la couleur

S’est répandue gratuitement en effet

Le choeur fantôme

Entonne l’hymne à féléciter

Les fragrances , les pêches, les pommmes

Le long des Étés

Sont connus des champs

Les étoiles au ciel despersées

La pluie, l’amour du soleil

Les reveries de la fraicheur d’une vieille

Pomme au passé

Sainte-Victorie d’Aix-en-Provence

Est son pays

Il peint leurs secrets

Avec la vue céleste

Et transparente

Traduit par Le Si Dong

Previously published in Flowers of love/fleurs d’amour Anthology Vietnamese International Poetry Society Volume XII 2008




19 thoughts on “Meditations on visiting Atelier Cézanne

    1. You should visit the studio… I just do not have the words to do it justice. It may sound strange but you can feel his presence. I have been back twice and know I shall return. Perhaps when you get here?


    1. I spent a week there during the festival 2006 but have returned and will do so again. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  1. How interesting that you should;d say you felt his presence, I’ve heard others say the same thing.. I long to do the same, but you sharing it is a gift anyway.
    Your poem – beautiful

  2. Lovely…love the way you express what I have definitely felt, for example,…at Monet’s house in Giverny, and even in the presence of a great work of art…it’s as if they are there with you…and in a sense they are…amazing. Merci!

  3. It is so powerful. Everything laid out as it had been. The university who cares for the property keeps the basket of apples just as they were in various stages of ripeness… There is a wine bottle with glasses. It appears that they had been filled with wine and over time the liquid permeated the glass staining it with its mark. There are drawers in a cabinet filled with letters and photos…

  4. oh wow…sounds magical…Cézanne is cool…seen some of his work in amsterdam..
    He paints their secrets
    With celestial vision
    And transparency…i like…

    1. Thank you so much. It is such an incredible experience, I couldn’t access the words to truly do it justice. It really is a “must” for your visit list.

    1. That was written shortly after my first visit. I have been back once and will visit again as I can. If you get there you will know just how inadequate my words are. The master is truly in residence. Thank you for your generosity.
      It was so different from Giverny. While the gardens are spectacular and a small boat awaits near the pond the house remains much of its former glory but Monet’s studio has been turned into a gift shop. I cannot express the disappointment that I felt there. It was pure and utter sacrilege.

      1. Yes, even though I didn’t say the word you would recognise it. It was similar years ago when I was in England and visited The Bronte Parsonage. While I do understand that money has to come from somewhere to sustain these treasures, it cannot be at the price of sacrificing the treasure itself. An artists studio beats with his/her heartbeat and drips with their sweat, tears and blood. Yes, insanity in a capitalist world.

  5. I wonder, how I could have overseen this post.
    You know, I’ll try to visit the Provence, even it is really far away from us. But this could be a bait for my wife. She’s a painter and this colud help me to convince her to go on that trip.

  6. Well, I am just glad you found it. Especially if it gets you there! You will both be happy you did. You have just hit on the reason we miss so much on the blogs we follow. We find a blog that may be new to us and don’t often take the time to see what we have missed. 🙂 Thank you for the reminder.

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