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Leo Marchutz

Leo Marchutz with his paintings

In 1928, a German-born artist named Leo Marchutz (1903-1976) came to Aix-en-Provence to see the motifs of Paul Cézanne. Inspired by the light and structure of the landscape, he stayed, living at the Château Noir for forty years. A foremost authority on the work of Cézanne, Marchutz was also an innovator in the fields of lithography, painting, drawing, and art education.

Like Cézanne, who advocated study from nature and study of the masters with almost equal fervor, Marchutz saw in this dual allegiance the path to self-discovery for the artist. In 1971 Marchutz helped found a school that emphasizes the importance of seeing and painting the visible world while contemplating the art of the past. The light of Provence, European architecture, and Marchutz's fine awareness of timeless, artistic principles combined to form the core of his inspiration as an artist and educator.

Since his death in 1976, and now under the auspices of IAU, the Marchutz School faculty has continued to devote its energy to helping artists and students of art perceive the relationship between art, nature, and the self.


For more than twenty-five years all members of the teaching staff, have been either students of Leo Marchutz or alumni of the School. Four distinct generations have ensured the continuity of the School’s fundamental substance and pedagogy : 

1972 to 1976: Leo Marchutz, William Weyman, Samuel Bjorklund
1976 to 1984: William Weyman, Samuel Bjorklund
1984 to 1989: Jim Toub, William Weyman, Alan Roberts, John Gasparach
1989 to present: Alan Roberts, John Gasparach

The Marchutz School Police Bus at first summer school in 1972 
(Left) The Marchutz School Police Bus at first summer school in 1972; (Right) Current and former Marchutz School teachers, in 1984.  From left to right: Alan Roberts, William Weyman, John Gasparach, and Francois de Asis.

Remembering Leo Marchutz:

"Marchutz attained this surprising result: mastering the light in such a manner that it seems to be extracted from the white of the paper. Light creating form while at the same time leaving it free, breathing and always fleeing." -André Masson

"I owe him (Marchutz) my fervor for Cézanne."   -John Rewald

"(Marchutz) expels little by little all that is not essential to the image. He grasps by one necessary stroke the quickness of the flash of an eye... He achieves in the same way, before a landscape, the fundamentals of mass, light, and color between air, ground, and buildings, and finally, at the end of a patiently followed road, arrives at an extreme purity."   -George Duby

"When Leo Marchutz arrived at Chateaunoir... he was like a migrating bird who had found his climate. His settling there was not premeditated. Was he influenced by Cézanne? If one puts the question to him, he is at a loss for words. It seems rather that he met and recognized Cézanne as Baudelaire met and recognized Edgar Poe. The work of Cézanne throws light on his because the two works start from the same heights. They join each other at the source."   -Marcel Ruff

"I remember one comment that was really important to me. An art critic said that one must see Cézanne in the light of Aix."  -Leo Marchutz


Works by Leo Marchutz