Paul Cézanne — on teachers

From Gerstle Mack’s biography:

Vollard dined with Cézanne and his family. The painter was in a gay mood and almost overpoweringly polite. “His favorite expression was ‘Excusez un peu!‘ ” The guest, knowing Cézanne’s reputation for irascibility, did his best to steer the conversation into safe channels. “All my precautions, however, did not prevent me from making a bad break. We had been talking of Gustave Moreau. I said: ‘It seems that he is an excellent teacher.’ When I began to speak, Cézanne was in the act of lifting his glass to his lips; he stopped without setting it down, while cupped the other hand behind his ear, being a little hard of hearing. He got the full force of the word teacher, which affected him like an electric shock: “Teachers!’ he shouted, setting down his glass so hard that it broke, ‘they’re all swine, eunuchs, Goddamned asses, they have no guts!” But after this outburst the painter calmed down and the rest of the meal was harmonious and uneventful.

Portrait of Ambroise Vollard, Paul Cézanne, 1889. Oil on canvas. 39 3/4 x 31 7/8 in. Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Villed de Paris

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