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Cézanne's wife, Hortense Fiquet, was his most frequent model—he painted nearly thirty portraits of her. Posing for Cézanne demanded great patience, for he was a slow and painstaking worker and always required the presence of the model. This early portrait has a serene monumentality, its many small blocks of subtly varied color locked into a harmonious whole. In one of his most frequently quoted statements, Cézanne said, "I want to make of Impressionism an art as solid as that of the museums."

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