Paul Cézanne 1839–1906 was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations for the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavor to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. He is often credited with bridging the gap between the Impressionist style of the late 19th century and the Cubist movement of the early 20th century.
Cézanne attended the College Bourbon (now the Collège Mignet) in Aix-en-Provence, his hometown. While he showed an early interest in art, Cézanne’s father initially encouraged him to pursue a more traditional academic path. However, his passion for art eventually led him to enroll in the Free Municipal School of Drawing in Aix in 1858. It was there that he met fellow artist Émile Zola, who would later become a close friend.
In 1861, Cézanne moved to Paris to pursue further artistic studies. He initially attended the Académie Suisse and later enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts. However, his independent spirit and desire to explore his own artistic path led him to break away from the academic constraints of formal art education. Rather than receiving formal training in a conventional art school, Cézanne’s approach to art drew heavily from his observations of nature and the works of earlier artists.
Cézanne was born in Aix-en-Provence, France. His father was Louis-Auguste Cézanne, a successful hat maker and owner of a banking firm. His mother was Anne-Elisabeth Honorine Aubert. Cézanne’s family was relatively affluent, and his father’s financial stability allowed him to pursue his artistic interests without the immediate pressure of financial success. However, Cézanne’s decision to become an artist was initially met with resistance from his father, who wanted him to pursue a more traditional and secure career. Despite this, Cézanne went on to become one of the most influential artists of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Cézanne had two siblings. His younger sister was named Rose, and his younger brother was named Joseph. While Paul Cézanne is the most well-known member of the family due to his significant contributions to the art world, his siblings played their roles in the family as well.
Cézanne had a longtime companion and later married Hortense Fiquet. Cézanne and Fiquet met in the early 1860s, and she became a recurring subject in many of his paintings. They had a tumultuous relationship that was characterized by periods of separation and reconciliation.
Despite the challenges in their personal lives, Cézanne and Hortense eventually married in 1886. They had a son named Paul, who later became a writer. While their relationship was often strained, Hortense remained with Cézanne until his death in 1906. After Cézanne’s death, Hortense Fiquet lived on until 1922.
Cézanne’s style is characterized by a unique approach to form and color. He sought to simplify the complex visual world into basic geometric shapes and planes, emphasizing the underlying structure of his subjects. This approach had a profound influence on later artists, particularly the Cubists, who admired Cézanne’s exploration of multiple perspectives and simultaneous representation of different views.
One of his most famous series of works is the paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire, a mountain near his home in Aix-en-Provence, which he depicted in various lighting conditions and from different angles. His still lifes, landscapes, and portraits are also notable for their innovative approach to composition and use of color.
Cezanne painted over 1300 paintings. The Amir of Qatar paid $250 million for Cezanne’s painting The Card Players in 2011, setting a record for the highest private purchase price ever. The Card Players is a series of oil paintings painted during Cézanne’s final period in the early 1890s. The underbidder was Larry G.
Although Cézanne’s work was not widely appreciated during his lifetime, he is now regarded as one of the most influential figures in the history of modern art. His contributions to the development of artistic concepts and techniques had a lasting impact on subsequent movements, including Cubism and abstract art.