Education: Academie Suisse, Paris; Aix-Marseille University
Paul Cézanne's Famous Artworks
“The Black Marble Clock,” 1869-71
“A Modern Olympia,” 1873-74
“Mont Saint-Victoire seen from Bellvue,” 1885
“The Card Players,” 1890-1905
“Rideau, Crunchon et Compotier,” 1893-94
“The Bathers,” 1898-1905
“Apotheose de Delacroix,” 1964
Paul Cézanne was a French post-Impressionist artist
who is presently the record holder for the most expensive painting ever sold. One of the five paintings that he created for the series ‘The Card Players’ in the 1890s, was bought by the royal family of Qatar for $250 million at a private auction in April 2011. Cézanne’s analytical approach, composition and use of angular figures and lines were a precursor to the Cubist and Fauvist styles of the early 20th century.
Paul Cézanne's Early Life
Cézanne was born on January 19, 1839, in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France
. His father was the co-founder of a successful banking business and the family was financially secure. In 1852 Cézanne began studying at the College Bourbon where he became great friends with Émile Zola, who would go on to become a renowned writer. He enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts (School of Design) in Aix in 1856 to study painting and drawing and stayed there until 1861. At the same time, he also joined the University of Aix-en-Provence to study law in order to please his father, who disapproved of his desire to be an artist. By 1861, Cézanne was able to persuade his father to allow him to move to Paris to study art; he failed at getting admission at the Académie des Beaux-Arts (now Ecole des Beaux-Arts) and enrolled at the Académie Suisse instead.
Paul Cézanne's years in Paris
In Paris, Cézanne was reunited with Zola and met Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Claude Monet; Pissarro had a deep influence on the young artist’s work and outlook. The use of dark colors, heavy brushstrokes and religious subjects in Cézanne’s paintings from the 1860s set this work apart from his later, more mature work. Cézanne’s early paintings received much criticism as well as ridicule and were rejected by the Paris Salon, where his work was exhibited only once. He also exhibited at the 1863 Salon des Refusés which was organized to display works rejected by the jury of the Paris Salon.
Cézanne and Pissarro worked closely with each other for two years from 1872, while living in Pontoise in France. These years were significant as they had a seminal bearing on Cézanne’s style of art. He began to paint directly from nature during this period. The result was that romantic and religious subjects started receding from his canvas and the dark shades of his palette made way for lively colors.
In 1874, Cézanne exhibited his works at the first Impressionist exhibition in Paris even though his paintings were different from the Impressionist style. By the mid-1870s, Cézanne started experimenting with technique with a focus on form and the use of a refined, muted color palette. He was increasingly interested in portraying on canvas his observations of the seen world, which he did by analyzing naturally occurring forms and representing them on canvas in the simplest shapes and structures.
Paul Cézanne's Personal Life
Cézanne lived in Paris, L’Estaque (near Marseilles) and Provence in the 1870s and 1880s. Cézanne’s first child with Marie-Hortense Fiquet, called Paul, was born in 1872 in Paris. He kept his relationship with Hortense a secret from his father for many years and finally married her in 1886, the year his father died. In the same year, Cézanne also ended his friendship with his school friend Zola, after the latter published his book, ‘L’Oeuvre’, about the life of an unsuccessful painter. It is generally acknowledged that Cézanne and Edouard Manet were the inspiration behind the protagonist of the book; Cézanne took this as a betrayal of trust and never spoke to Zola again.
Paul Cézanne's Later Years
Paul Cézanne painted
a five-part series, ‘The Card Players’, in the 1890s. The series went on to become one of his most celebrated works and is considered a prelude to the work he created in his final years. The models for ‘The Card Players’ were farmhands at the family estate in the south of France.
At the urging of Monet, Renoir and Pissarro, the art dealer Ambroise Vollard presented Cézanne’s first one-man show in Paris in 1895. Following the show, there was greater public interest in his work and his reputation as an artist grew with support from American artist Mary Stevenson Cassatt, American art historian specializing in the Renaissance Bernard Berenson and art collectors, Henry Osborne and Louisine Havemeyer. At the 1904 Salon d’Automne, an entire room was devoted to the works of Paul Cézanne
Cézanne fell ill while painting outdoors in a storm in 1906 and died in Aix-en-Provence on October 22 the same year. A large retrospective of Cézanne's artwork, held at the Salon d’Automne in 1907, had a major influence on the direction of the avant-garde art scene in Paris. Cézanne’s interest in optical phenomena and use of geometric principles were a precursor to the development of Cubism in the early 20th century. You can buy Paul Cézanne's paintings online
Paul Cézanne's Major Exhibitions
1946 - Tate Britain, London
1989 - National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
2006 - National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
2007 - Palazzo Strozzi, Florence
2008 - The Courtauld Gallery, London
Paul Cézanne's Museums/Collections
Art Institute of Chicago
Dallas Museum of Art
Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Louvre Museum, Paris
Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Museum of Modern Art, New York
National Gallery, London
Tate Gallery, London
Neue Pinakothek, Munich
“Cézanne: A Life” by Alex Danchev
“Paul Cézanne, 1839-1906: Pioneer of Modernism” by Ulrike Becks-Malorny