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The Cover
January 13, 1999

Madame Cézanne in Blue

JAMA. 1999;281(2):111. doi:10.1001/jama.281.2.111

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) had the patience of a saint and the humility of a scientist but, when these failed, the fury of a thousand demons. He could work for months on a single canvas, painstakingly observing every detail of the motif and weighing every stroke before he touched brush to canvas, and then, inexplicably, fly into a rage, stab it full of holes, and finally, pitch it out the window. Although not one person in his family—mother, sister, wife—ever understood why he had chosen to be a painter as against something more useful such as the banker his father had wanted him to be, nevertheless, they learned silently to retrieve each canvas from the yard or tree or wherever else it had happened to land and to keep it against future want.