We bring toddlers and babies to art museums. We stay for an hour, targeting a specific exhibit and talking about what we see. Then we hit the gift shop for creative kids’ art supplies and books, and have a romp in the usually lovely courtyard.
We gave the Musee Granet in Aix-en-Provence this treatment, targeting modern art, particularly that of homegrown talent Cézanne. The Granet is in Aix’s posh Mazarin quarter to the south of Cours Mirabeau. The Mazarin neighbourhood is known for mansions and fountains, in particular the Quatre-Dauphins (Four Dolphins) fountain. Cézanne took painting classes at Granet. It’s incredibly satisfying to walk around in the painter’s landscape and then have the chance to revisit his work immediately after.
The Granet will never live down the words of curator Auguste-Henri Pontier, who famously declared that he would never exhibit an Cézanne paintngs. Of course, he was wrong. The museum has Cézanne paintings including a small study for Les Baigneuses, a portrait of Madame Cézanne, watercolors of Mont Saint-Victoire, as well as a landscape including his childhood home Jas de Bouffan.
Musee Granet is a far more kid-friendly Cézanne experience than visiting his studio in Aix, Atelier Cézanne. There you peek over a fence to get a glimpse of his workspace. There’s nothing but trouble and boredom for toddlers. In Granet, by contrast, you can get up close to his work and tots can walk. You’ll also works by Giacometti, Van Gogh, Monet, Léger, Mondrian and Klee among others.
Insider tip: don’t miss the finger-tip kids’ paint brushes in the gift shop. Parents, scoop up the English exhibition album “The Great Workshop of the Midi.” It explains how Cézanne’s presence in Aix inspired a generation of young painters (Van Gogh, Gaugin, Matisse, and even Monet) to come to the sun-drenched coast of southern France and paint. Their social interactions are documented alongside their work.
Place Saint Jean de Malte, Museegranet-aixenprovence.fr/www/index3.html