Paul Cezanne, 1839 – 1906

January 19, 1839: Birthdate of French post-impressionist painter Paul Cezanne.  Cezanne was not Jewish.  But he did enjoy a connection to the Jewish people which is illustrative of the state of French society in Pre-World War I France. Cezanne grew up in Aix-en-Provence, where he was a childhood friend of Emile Zola, the novelist who wrote “J’Accuse,” the widely read exposé on the framing of Alfred Dreyfus, the French Jewish army officer falsely convicted of espionage. Cezanne was an ardent Dreyfusard and exulted, along with other intellectuals and the French Jewish community, when Dreyfus was finally exonerated. Later in life Cezanne developed a relationship with Camille Pissarro, a Sephardic Jew and fellow Impressionist with whom he painted side by side in Paris and in Aix-en-Provence.  (from “This Day … In Jewish History”, Mitch Levin)

On March 15, 1939 the French postal administration issued a 2,25-franc stamp with a portrait of Cezanne (Michel No. 439).  Also, in 1994 France released a 2,80-franc stamp with a Cezanne watercolor of the Sainte-Victoire mountain (Michel No. 3032) which was within viewing distance of the artist’s home: