Cézanne, Paul - Metropolitan Museum of Art New York
Paul Cézanne: Madame Cézanne
The depictions of Hortense in oil, watercolor, and graphite provide the only material clues to her partnership with Cézanne, which began in Paris in 1869, while she was working as a bookbinder. Although the circumstances of their first encounter are unknown, an early portrait from 1872 (now lost) suggests that she was modeling for Cézanne by the age of twenty-two. Cézanne took great pains to conceal his mistress and their only child, Paul, from his family, fearing his authoritative father's disapproval. This complicated subterfuge led to separate residences, frequent and often desperate appeals for funds, and long periods of living apart, even after their marriage in 1886. Despite this seeming neglect, the portraits attest to the constancy of a relationship that was critical to the artist's practice and development. Their story is a compelling one indeed, perhaps all the more so for the absence of its particulars.
(Text: Metropolitan Museum of Art)