(b. 1839, Aix-en-Provence, d. 1906, Aix-en-Provence)

Madame Cézanne in a Red Armchair

Oil on canvas, 73 x 56 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

In April 1886, Cézanne married Hortense Fiquet in Aix. The reason why, after so long, he decided to make his relationship with Hortense official, despite not having loved her for a long time, was probable to ensure that their son Paul, now aged fourteen, did not suffer the stigma of having unmarried parents.

Hortense did not share Cézanne's passion for painting and literature, and she preferred the bright lights of Paris to the solitude of the Provençal countryside. But she seems to have possessed huge reserves of patience and posed for the artist in endless sittings. He painted over forty portraits of her, mostly showing her as a severe and reserved-looking woman with hard, angular features, such as the present painting.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.