Paul Cézanne

1839 - 1906
Paul Cézanne
Cézanne, Self Portrait, about 1880 

Cézanne associated with the Impressionists, but always had other aims. He said that his ambition was to 'make of Impressionism something solid and durable like the art of museums'. Cézanne's work was discovered by the Paris avant-garde during the 1890s. It had a significant influence on Picasso and the development of 20th-century art.


Cézanne's boyhood in Provence was dominated by his father, a wealthy banker, and his friend Emile Zola. Under family pressure he trained as a lawyer in his native Aix while attending lessons at the local drawing academy. After moving to Paris he attended a private art school (the Académie Suisse).

Cézanne absorbed many influences, including those of Courbet and Manet, in his early years. In his early works he often imitated Courbet, applying thick layers of paint with a palette knife. He later told Renoir that it took him twenty years to realise that painting was not sculpture. In the 1880s his brushwork became increasingly systematic and ordered. He worked slowly and methodically, selecting subjects he could study for long periods.

Related paintings

An Old Woman with a Rosary
Paul Cézanne
about 1895-6
An Old Woman with a Rosary
Avenue at Chantilly
Paul Cézanne
1888
Avenue at Chantilly
Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses)
Paul Cézanne
about 1894-1905
Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses)
Hillside in Provence
Paul Cézanne
about 1890-2
Hillside in Provence
Landscape with Poplars
Paul Cézanne
about 1885-7
Landscape with Poplars
Self Portrait
Paul Cézanne
about 1880-1
Self Portrait
Still Life with Water Jug
Paul Cézanne
about 1892-3
Still Life with Water Jug
The Avenue at the Jas de Bouffan
Paul Cézanne
1868-70, possibly later
The Avenue at the Jas de Bouffan
The Grounds of the Château Noir
Paul Cézanne
about 1900-4
The Grounds of the Château Noir
The Stove in the Studio
Paul Cézanne
about 1865
The Stove in the Studio

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