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Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne

(1839 - 1906)
Born: Aix-en-Provence, France
Style: Post-Impressionism
Famous Works:
  • Mont Sainte-Victoire seen from Bellevue (c. 1895)
  • The Card Players (1894-1895)
  • The Bathers (1898-1905)
Paul Cézanne's wealthy father, who had plans for his son to be a lawyer, not a painter, gave him a traditional education. Cézanne's mother supported her son's dreams of art, and he eventually moved to Paris. His start was rocky, and despite a friendship with writer Emile Zola, Cézanne returned to his hometown Aix-en-Provence. The artist had many such false starts, and could not firmly establish himself among the Impressionists. Instead of aiming to capture the immediacy of the Impressionists' paintings, Cézanne was interested in the shapes and structures of his subjects, and he had an amazing ability to distort them into a conglomerate of small geometrical shapes. This approach was revolutionary and was only refined as his career continued. Cézanne's reputation as a landscape painter was complimented by his vast body of still-life subjects. These paintings have the same distilled approach of his landscape paintings, transforming the collections of jugs, drapery, and other objects into a kind of interior landscape. The artist enjoyed very little popularity and little critical acclaim. Despite his strong appreciation of traditional French painters like Nicolas Poussin, most collectors considered him rebellious and radical. While Cézanne was clearly ahead of his time, an 1895 one-man show in Paris introduced his work to enthusiastic young artists. He eventually became incredibly influential among contemporary painters, and after his death his work became the main source of inspiration to Cubism giant Pablo Picasso, Fauvist founder Henri Matisse and even the Swiss painter Paul Klee.
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