ACADÉMIE SUISSE - THE "SUISSE" ACADEMY
Thus named alter its founder, a M. Suisse. In wretched premises on the Quai des Orfèvres, some time between 1825 and 1830, a former model by the name of Suisse (whom they used to call le Pére Suisse) opened a free academy, provided with models if not with instructors. A squalid room, located on the Quai des Orfèvres near the Pont Saint-Michel, in which artists could work from the living model for a small sum, without tuition or examination, it provided a sort of free training for the Ecole des Beaux Arts. There one could meet, in 1842, Bonington, Delacroix and Courbet. The Académie Suisse was at its zenith in about 1860, when the future Impressionists frequented it. It was here that Pissarro, the oldest of the impressionist group, who had been frequenting this establishment since 1855, made Monet's acquaintance in 1859 (before Monet left for his spell of military service in Algeria), and, in 1861, that of Cézanne, who had just come to Paris from his hometown, Aix-en-Provence, and whom he promptly and powerfully influenced. The friendship that immediately sprung up between the two artists was a particularly fertile one, for it was to his contact with Pissarro that Cézanne owed his initiation into the Impressionist technique during his stay at Auvers-sur-Oise in 1872-1874. Among the regular models of the Academy was a Negro by the name of Scipion, who figures in Cézanne's famous canvas now in the Sào Paulo Museum (see illustration, page 49). For a long time the Académie Suisse constituted the antechamber of the very official École Nationale des Beaux-Arts to which, as is well known, admission was not easily gained by avant-garde painters.