Paul Cezanne (born January 19, 1839 – died October 22, 1906) is a 19th century French artist who became the founder and central figure of Post-Impressionism. Cezanne’s paintings received recognition only in the last years of the master’s life, as they were half a century ahead of their time. The system of line, color and brushstroke conjugation developed by the artist was distinguished by amazing logic and subsequently inspired more than one generation of artists. Cezanne wrote his best works in the second half of the 19th century and had a strong influence on the development of avant-garde painting at the beginning of the next century.
Paul Cezanne ‘s biography
Paul Cezanne was born on the night of January 19, 1839 in a house on the Rue de Opéra in the small town of Aix in the south of France. At the time of the birth of their first child, the parents were not married and married only five years later, when the family already had two children. Father Louis-Auguste came from a family of hereditary artisans, but at one time he was not afraid to leave the lucrative profession of a hat merchant and start a banking business. An innate business acumen helped him earn a significant fortune.
Paul Cezanne began painting at the age of five, which made the mother of the future artist very happy. After graduating from elementary school, in 1852, the boy entered the College Bourbon full board. The teachers recognized Paul’s artistic talents as mediocre, but the young man was awarded an award for his ability to masterfully write poetry. After completing his studies, Cezanne attended the free painting school of Joseph Gibert for several years, and then got his father’s permission to go to Paris.
Cezanne moved to the capital in 1861 and began preparations for entering the Academy of Arts.
Academician Gibert taught Paul the basic techniques of painting, but the works of the young artist were frankly weak. Lessons at the private school of Charles Suisse could not improve the situation, the academy of the former model was more of a club where promising Parisian painters met. There Cézanne met Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro, and in 1863 presented two of his works at the Exposition of the Les Miserables.
In the exhibition, the artist saw the famous “Breakfast on the Grass” by Édouard Manet and was delighted with the painting. His admiration for the new art led him to the Impressionist circle led by Frédéric Bazille, but Cezanne, due to his natural shyness, preferred to keep aloof. He heard words of approval and support only from his idol Manet, while Salon repeatedly rejected the pictures of the young master, and he never managed to enter the Academy.
Cezanne’s works were so far beyond the public’s perception of the visual arts that they were called “gutter painting.”
In 1875, a significant event took place in the life of Cézanne – he met the collector Victor Choke, who became a regular buyer of his works. The artist regularly participated in exhibitions of the Impressionists, but heard nothing but mockery. Ignoring criticism, confident in his genius, Cezanne continued to work fruitfully and created his best works in the following decades.
The real fame came at the personal exhibition, which was organized in 1895 by the art dealer Ambroise Vollard. The paintings were sold out like hot cakes, and the work of the master was vying with each other to praise both critics and ordinary viewers. The first exhibition was immediately followed by the second, and by 1900 the elderly artist had turned from an object of ridicule into a living legend and the messiah of a new art. Everyone wanted to get to know Cézanne, and the master, who was not accustomed to such attention, could not believe in the sincerity of the words of admiration addressed to him.
The youth elevated Cézanne to the rank of their spiritual mentor and, when they met, wrote down every word behind him.
At the exhibition of the 1904 Salon, an entire hall was allocated for the master’s exposition. Two years later, Cezanne, who continued to work hard in the open air, contracted bronchitis. Later, the cold turned into pneumonia, which killed the artist. On October 23, 1906, Paul Cezanne died at the age of 67.
The painter sincerely regretted that he was born too early and said that he felt a spiritual kinship with the artists of the next generations. The work of the master gained many followers, and his style even got its name – Cezanneism.