Beading with the Masters: Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne was a French Post-Impressionist painter who helped usher in the transition to newer movements of painting like Fauvism, Expressionism, and Cubism. Prominent painters of the time, like Matisse and Picasso looked up to Cézanne, and said that he “is the father of us all.” He had great influence over the course of art history by shifting the art of painting into a medium for the artist’s expression.

I’m an art geek and love exploring art history. I’ve been enjoying learning what inspired artists’ work and tapping into their stories. I’ve selected my favorite notable artists, and in the month of their birth I’ll share their stories with you, and draw correlations between them and beaded jewelry design.

If you’re into art history, too, be sure to check out my previous article about artist Wassily Kandinsky, or read the entire Beading with the Masters series to get all caught up with what I’ve shared so far!

Landscapes of Provence

Cézanne painted extensively from a region in Provence where the Bibémus Quarries and Montagne Sainte-Victoire can be found. The beautiful scenery is depicted in soft green, gold, and periwinkle hues. These calming and harmonizing colors can be found in beaded jewelry as well:

  • Shirley J. Moore’s Twisted Road Necklace spirals with seafoam and mint greens and shimmering gold accents.
  • Melissa Grakowsky Shippee ‘s Brilliant Bangle has sparkling crystal rose montees and an architecturally structured style to accompany the peaceful colors.
  • The Aurelia Collar by Laura Graham features a gradient of soft aqua to satin gray that is reminiscent of the skies featured in many of Cézanne’s paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire.
Paul Cézanne

Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire with Twisted Road Necklace by Shirley J. Moore, Brilliant Bangle by Melissa Grakowsky Shippee, and Aurelia Collar by Laura Graham.

Late 1800s Paris

I recently watched a film of the bustling city life and streets of Paris in the 1890s.

It was fascinating to see and made me yearn to go back in time to visit the City of Lights in its heyday. Even though Cézanne moved to Provence in the late 1870s, he continued to be inspired by the people of Paris and painted a lot of portraits of the people he had encountered there. The beauty and intrigue of Paris still inspire artists today. Check out these Parisian-inspired pieces of beaded jewelry:

  • The Melange de Perles (a medley of beads) Necklace by Adrienne Gaskell is a beautifully textured kumihimo rope that brings to mind fine ladies in shimmering satin dresses walking down gas-lit cobblestone streets.
  • Maggie Meister’s Parisian Bangle is a tribute to the fountains and flowers of Paris. The focal turquoise cabochon reminds me of the large fountain that is the centerpiece of the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris.
  • The Harlequin Cuff by Laura McCabe features an argyle pattern topped with pretty little beaded flowers.
Paul Cézanne

Cézanne’s Lady in Blue and Harlequin with Melange de Perles Necklace by Adrienne Gaskell, Parisian Bangle by Maggie Meister, and Harlequin Cuff by Laura McCabe.


Paul Cézanne produced hundreds of still life paintings of fruits, jugs, bowls, and even skulls. The props that he used in his still lifes are still set up in his studio, just as he left them when he passed away in 1906. Fruit is a colorful subject, ever enduring in still life painting, and even beaders love to use fruit as creative inspiration. Here are some of my favorite fruity beading patterns:

Paul Cézanne

Cézanne’s Jug, Curtain and Fruit Bowl with Melon Vine Bracelet by Eileen A. Barker, Peach Fizz Bracelet by Melissa Grakowsky Shippee, and Wild Grapes Bracelet by Akiko Nomura.

Cézanne provided inspiration for his contemporaries, and still inspires artists of all walks to this day. Peruse his vast body of work for yourself, and get inspired to create something beautiful today!

Meredith Steele
Technical Editor, Beadwork magazine

Featured Image: Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire (Photo: National Gallery of Art), Lady in Blue (Photo: Hermitage Museum), Harlequin (Photo: Alexander R. Pruss/National Gallery of Art), and Jug, Curtain and Fruit Bowl (Photo: The Yorck Project) with the Brilliant Bangle by Melissa Grakowsky Shippee, the Harlequin Cuff by Laura McCabe, and Melon Vine Bracelet by Eileen A. Barker

Create some wearable beaded art with these patterns!


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