19 January 1839; Aix-en-Provence, France
22 October 1906; Aix-en-Provence, France
Paul Cezanne was a post-impressionist painter who created the bridge between impressionism and cubism, and is said to be the artistic father of both Matisse and Picasso. Although he was dissuaded by his father at an early age to pursue his passions in painting, he left his hometown of Provence for Paris, in 1861. It was there that he met Camille Pisarro, a popular impressionist painter, who served as his mentor and guide. He began painting in the impressionistic style, but later began to structurally order what he saw and painted into simple forms and planes of color. He also began to simplify the forms he painted into shapes, such as a tree into a column. Unlike many of the painters of his day, who focused on one or maybe two subject styles, Cezanne concentrated on still lifes, portraits, landscapes, and nude studies.
He began slowly in Paris, as all of his submissions to the Paris Salon between the years of 1864 and 1869 went rejected. He finally successfully entered a submission into the Paris Salon in 1882, which was also his last. In 1895, there was an exhibition held of all of his own works, signifying his growing success as an artist, but that same year he moved back to his hometown of Provence, where he continued to work in isolation.
Cezanne was early depicted as a rude, shy, angry man, given to bouts of depression, and later in his life he withdrew into his paintings, spending long periods of time a recluse, painting in solitude. Although his paintings were not well-received by the public, who supposedly reacted with hilarity, outrage and sarcasm, and laughed at his art, young artists held him in high esteem, and often sought after him. Cezanne’s legacy is that he developed the practice of fracturing forms, which most immediately influenced the development of cubism, and later the foundation of modern art.