One of the finest Post-Impressionist painters, Paul Cézanne, was a French painter (born January 19, 1839, in Aix-en-Provence, France—died October 22, 1906, in Aix-en-Provence). His works and ideas influenced numerous 20th-century artists and art groups, including Cubism. However, because he insisted on individual expression and the purity of the artwork itself, independent of a particular subject, Cézanne's art, which was misunderstood and derided by the public for most of his life, contradicted all the traditional principles of paintings in the 19th century.
Early Life of Paul Cezanne
A prosperous bourgeois family raised Cézanne as their son. He gains Ahis education from the Collège Bourbon in Aix. Cézanne enrolled in the University of Aix-en-law Provence's school in 1858 at the advice of his successful banker father, who was adamant that his son would pursue the same career. But because he had already decided to pursue some creative profession at a young age, he had little interest in studying law. Finally, after two years, he convinced his father to let him study painting in Paris with the help of his mother.
The initial five-month stay in Paris by Cézanne was brief. When he realized he wasn't as technically adept as some of the other pupils at the Académie Suisse. In these studios, he started his training; his nature's volatility quickly gave way to profound despair. Only the support of the author Émile Zola, with whom he had forged a strong acquaintance at the Collège Bourbon, allowed him to stay for as much as he did.
For Parisian literature and art, the early 1860s were a time of immense vigor. The battle between the Realist artists, headed by Gustave Courbet, and the legitimate Académie des Beaux-Arts, which excluded all paintings that were not in the scholastic Neoclassical or Romanticism styles from its yearly show and therefore from public acceptability, had reached its peak. Napoleon III, the emperor, ordered the formation of a Salon des Refusés in 1863 to quell the mounting controversy among artists over paintings that the Salon de l'Académie had rejected.
The nearly unanimous condemnation of the Refusés' artwork by critics strengthened their revolutionary spirit. Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, and Edgar Degas were among the most accomplished artists in this generation, and Cézanne, whose preferences had quickly changed far from academics, became connected with them. Despite the exclusion of Manet, most of these painters were entering their 20s and beginning to develop their styles. They would later become known as the Impressionist school. However, Cézanne's association with the other artists was first hampered by his touchiness and deliberate rudeness, which were born from his acute shyness and an emotional instability irritated by their sociable methods. Nevertheless, Zola, a friend of Cézanne's, was fervently committed to their cause.
During this time, Cézanne began to establish a violent, gloomy style; he painted scenes with stark contrasts of both light and shadow, as well as suppleness and vitality that are exceptional for the era but can be attributed to Delacroix's whirling arrangements. In particular, the paintings of Maurice de Vlaminck and Georges Rouault, this period's perceptive responsiveness and the inner feverishness it displays foretell the bold breakthroughs of Fauvism and contemporary Expressionism.
Cézanne fled Paris for Provence in July 1870, just as the Franco-German War began, to avoid being enlisted. He brought Marie-Hortense Fiquet, a young lady he had wedded in 1886 after she had been his mistress the year before. The Cézannes made their home at Estaque, a little town near Marseille on the southern French coast. He started painting landscapes there, experimenting with accurately capturing nature while also conveying the emotions it gave him.
A son was born to Marie-Hortense in Jan 1872. Shortly after, at Camille Pissarro's request, Cézanne relocated his family to Pontoise inside the Oise River region. He started taking Pissarro's lessons there and in the adjacent town of Auvers, who was the only artist friend who'd been sympathetic enough to educate him despite his tough attitude. Pissarro was present to instruct him on the principles and methods of impressionism.
Cézanne returned to Paris in 1874 and actively participated in the Impressionists' first official exhibition. Even though the paintings Cézanne displayed there and during the third exhibition in 1877 received the harshest criticism of all the works displayed, he persisted in his work, occasionally returning to Provence to enjoy the light. He traveled to Estaque in 1876 and Aix-en-Provence in 1878, where he was forced to put up with his dictatorial father's insults to exist because his paintings were still unable to find clients.
Development of Mature Style
From the end of the 1870s until the beginning of the 1990s, Cézanne lived in seclusion and honed his mature aesthetic. The Sea at L'Estaque (1878–79), one of his landscape paintings from this time, is perhaps one of the earliest works of the mature Cézanne. These landscapes comprise big and serene horizontals, where the unrelenting blue sea sprawls far across the oil paintings while the consistent up-and-down strokes provide a clear prismatic impression.
In his portraits, Cézanne was to take much the same method. The Card Players (1890–94), Woman holding Coffee-Pot (1890–94), and Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Armchair (1890–94) are a few of the most well-known (1890–92). This last painting depicts a subject that Cézanne explored in five distinct ways. There is no endeavor in Cézanne's portraits to allude to the sitter's personality, except in the portraits of card players, in which the somber majesty of the men is beautifully portrayed.
After his father passed away in 1886, Cézanne could support himself on his own. Marie-Hortense, whom he had wedded six months previously, and their son relocated permanently to Paris in 1888 after spending a year there. Except for a few trips to Paris, Fontainebleau, Jura in Switzerland, and Giverny, wherein he met the artist Auguste Rodin, Cézanne eventually made his home in Aix. The first one-person exposition of Cézanne's work (more than 100 paintings) was mounted in 1895 by the art dealer Ambroise Vollard. Still, despite the excitement that certain young artists and art enthusiasts were commencing to display his work, the general public remained unreceptive.
Final Years of Paul Cézanne
Cézanne's painting developed in-depth, focused color richness and compositional mastery as the 19th century ended. He believed he might develop a fresh perspective. From 1890 to 1905, he generated masterpieces in rapid succession: ten different variants of the Mont Sainte-Victoire, three iterations of the Boy in a Red Waistcoat, innumerable still-life pictures, as well as the Bathers series, wherein he attempted to revive the classic nudist tradition and investigated his interest in the nudity's sculptural impact on the landscape. He sketched slowly, which required a lot of time, and he was fascinated with it.
The final Mont Sainte-Victoire paintings (1898–1902) and the vistas of Château-Noir were brought to life by this ill and misanthropic older man, isolated in his studio. Nevertheless, he successfully incorporated massive nudes with the countryside in his structural conception of reality in the final of the great Bathers works (1900-05).
This sick and humorless older man, isolated in his workshop, brought new life to the final Mont Sainte-Victoire paintings (1898–1902) and the vistas of Château-Noir with just a few delicate brushstrokes. He achieved the structural integration of gigantic nudes with a backdrop in the final of the magnificent Bathers paintings (1900-05).
Legacy of Paul Cézanne
Cézanne's endeavor to look past outer appearance to the rationale of the underlying hierarchical system always inspired admiration among his peers, even though critical compassion and popular recognition didn't come to him until the last ten years of his career. Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin, Pierre Bonnard, Pablo Picasso, Kazimir Malevich, and Marcel Duchamp were among the notable painters that bought his work, accomplishing his dream that his paintings would educate upcoming artists. Somewhere at Salon d'Automne in Paris, a retrospective exhibition of his work (56 paintings) was staged in 1907 and received high praise.
At the Salon d'Automne in Paris, a retrospective exhibition of his work (56 paintings) was staged in 1907 and received high praise. Picasso's pioneering Demoiselles d'Avignon ("Women of Avignon"), which he painted the following year, was unmistakably influenced by Cézanne's revolutionary Bathers of 1900–05. Cézanne's methodological method of formal issues—especially his spatial explorations—laid the groundwork for Picasso and other artists later wanderings of cubism. At the same time, his studies of color and brushstroke impacted Matisse and other Fauve painters in the first decade of the twentieth century.
Although, as his initial biographer Julius Meier-Graef noted in 1904, "Except for Van Gogh, no one in contemporary art has put more expectations on aesthetic susceptibility than Cézanne," the public has, over time, come to appreciate his work. Since he created a purely pictorial vocabulary that matched structure with lyricism and investigation with emotion, Cézanne is widely considered the most important predecessor of 20th-century formal detachment in painting. Picasso best summed up Cézanne's significance for future generations of painters when he called him "the father of us all."