Life of the Artist
Paul Cezanne was born in 1839 in Aix en Provence, France. He grew up in Aix en Provence, where his father worked as a banker. He went to the College Bourbon in 1852. He later realized he wanted to focus on art and in 1856, attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Aix en Provence. His father did not approve of his career aspirations as an artist, thus he also studied at the University of Aix en Provence to train to be a lawyer. However, his true desire was to be an artist and in 1861, he moved to Paris to try and study at the Beaux-Arts Academy. However, he was rejected from this academy and thus did not enroll, and instead studied at the Swiss Academy. Cezanne came into contact with many other famous painters throughout the course of his lifetime, including Monet and Pissarro. One of his most important relationships, however, was with author Emile Zola. The two were lifelong friends, and their relationship was a very important part of Cezanne’s life, although they suffered a falling out due to Emile Zola's famous book The Masterpiece. Cezanne was also married to a woman named Hortense Fiquet, with whom he had a son. Paul Cezanne died in 1906.
Self Portrait, 1883-1887, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, Denmark
Cezanne was a Post-Impressionist painter who is considered to be one of the most influential painters of all time. His advancements in painting made way for lasting movements such as Fauvism and Cubism. Although most famous for his still life and landscape paintings, Cezanne enjoyed a long and varied career, where he employed many different painting styles. These different periods were later named as the couillard period, in which he often painted with a palette knife and used dark, somber colors, the Impressionist period, where he participated in the first Impressionist Salon, the Constructive period, where his work began to mature, and finally the Synthetic period, where he painted his famous Large Bathers series. Unfortunately, Cezanne often destroyed many of his works he was unhappy with, particularly his early works, so there is some information missing regarding the evolution of his style. He sold very little throughout his lifetime but ironically enough created one of the most expensive paintings of all time: one of the paintings in his Card Players series.
Card Players, 1892-1893, Royal Family of Qatar, Qatar (painting mentioned above)
Cezanne’s later works are characterized by unique techniques used solely by him at the time. For his still life paintings, he used a special technique that allowed him to paint the piece from several different perspectives. This technique created a unique composition of the painting that allowed viewers to see the unbalanced position of objects. His technique in his later landscape painting was called his “constructive brushstroke” technique, where he used thick, hatched brushstrokes and contrasted warm and cool colors to create depth.
Women Bathing, 1900, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, Denmark
Mount Saint Victoire, 1904, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Still Life, Drapery, Pitcher, and Fruit Bowl, 1893-1894, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, US
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“Paul Cézanne.” Guggenheim (blog), February 10, 2011. https://www.guggenheim.org/arts-curriculum/topic/paul-cezanne.
“Paul Cézanne.” Biography. Accessed February 28, 2018. https://www.biography.com/people/paul-czanne-9542036.
Solana, Guillermo, and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Cézanne : Site/Non-Site. [Madrid]: Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2014.