Hidden Cézanne Mural Discovered in the Walls of the Post-Impressionist Artist’s Family Home

When Paul Cézanne was a young man, his father purchased a mansion in the French town of Aix-en-Provence. And, as any artist is apt to do, Cézanne took it upon himself to decorate the walls with his art. While it was thought that all of his oil paintings, watercolors, and murals in the home, known as Bastide du Jas de Bouffan, had been documented, we now know that this is not true.

During a renovation of the “Grand Salon” in August 2023, the remains of a previously unknown mural were discovered. Prior to the discovery, art historians had recorded nine Cézanne pieces in the home, which was sold by the artist and his sister in 1899. Those murals were transferred to canvas and dispersed to different museums. Now, this newly recovered work was recently presented at a press conference attended by Cézanne's great-grandson, as well as the mayor of Aix-en-Provence, and experts from Société Paul Cézanne and the Musée Granet.

Found under layers of plaster and wallpaper, the remains of the mural appear to show a maritime scene. The borders contain ship masts and banners flying in the breeze, though unfortunately, the central and lower sections have been ripped away, not allowing us to see what else the Post-Impressionist painter had in mind. “A sky, banners atop a ship’s mast? A port entrance? With this unexpected discovery, Cézanne has not finished moving us, either,” the mayor and French senator Sophie Joissains shared on Facebook.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the fragments of this new work once renovations are complete in time for the 2025 celebration that Aix-en-Provence is planning for Cézanne. Joissans added, “The public will then be able to discover this place, enriched by the updating of its first paintings produced from 1859, as well as by the arrival in Aix of the most famous of Cézanne’s paintings, The Card Players.”

And while you may be wondering if Cézanne left any more surprises, researchers shared that the rest of the home has been checked thoroughly, so they don't expect anything else to be discovered.

A mural by Paul Cézanne was discovered under wallpaper in plaster in his family home.

House and Farm at Jas de Bouffan by Paul Cezanne

“House and Farm at Jas de Bouffan” by Paul Cézanne. 1887. (Photo: WikiArt, Public domain)

The remains of the mural appear to show a seascape, with ship masts and banners still visible.

h/t: [Smithsonian Magazine]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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