Paul Cezanne grew up in the comfortable bourgeois life of Aix en Provence. He attended College Bourbon where he met his friend and future writer Emile Zola. Complying to his father's wishes he attended Law school at the University of Aix en Provence. However, Cezanne wanting to pursue his artistic inclinations left Aix en Provence for Paris 1861 at the objections of his father. After five months in Paris, he was gripped with self-doubt and returned to Aix to work in his father's banking house. This was short lived, as Cezanne returned to Paris in 1862 to paint.
During the 1860's Cezanne painted in a dark tonal palette reminiscent of painters he admired such as Courbet, Delacroix and Manet. Then in 1872, he moved to Pontoise, outside of Paris to be near his friend Camille Pissaro who encouraged him to paint outdoor to capture the natural light and impressions of nature following a new technique dubbed Impressionism. Cezanne's canvases started to gain lighter and more brilliant tones. Exhibiting in the Salon des Refuses in 1874 and 1877, he however, failed to gain critical and commercial success.
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In 1886, at age 47 Cezanne married Hortense; his father died the same year living him with a substantial inheritance. Subsequent years saw the painter secluding himself, painting still lifes, landscapes, portraits of locals and bathers. His quirky and troubled behavior led to a strained relationship between the couple who spent much time apart- Hortense living in Paris with Paul Jr. and Paul Cezanne living in Aix en Provence at Jas de Bouffan with his mother and sister .
Cezanne gained more and more status in the late 1890's; his painting were successfully exhibited in the Salon des Independents in Paris in 1899, 1901, 1902 and in 1904 he was given an entire room at the Salon d'Automne.
His legacy today is considered pivotal in the development of modern art being the bridge between Impressionism and the development of cubism. He was admired by Picasso and Matisse who are believed to have remarked that Cézanne "is the father of us all."
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National Gallery- Prague
We invite you to join our small group tour to Provence to visit Aix en Provence and Atelier Cezanne. Click here for more details. Provence Escapde
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