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Paul Cézanne was born on January 19, 1839 in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France. His father was the cofounder of a successful banking firm. His mother was lively and romantic, but quick to be offended, and Cézanne was a lot like her. He also had two younger sisters, Marie and Rose .

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Paul Cézanne was born on January 19, 1839 in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France. His father was the cofounder of a successful banking firm. His mother was lively and romantic, but quick to be offended, and Cézanne was a lot like her. He also had two younger sisters, Marie and Rose.


At the age of ten, Cézanne studied drawing under a Spanish monk. In 1852, Cézanne entered the Collège Bourbon (shown below) where he met and became friends with Émile Zola, who was studying to become a writer. His father was against him having an artistic career and, in 1858, he convinced Cézanne to enter law school at the University of Aix.


In 1861, Cézanne convinced his father to allow him to go to Paris. He was strongly influenced to make this decision by Zola, who was already living in Paris. During this period, he met the artists Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro. Cézanne was never entirely comfortable with the lifestyle in Paris and from time to time he returned to Aix where he could work by himself. This photograph was taken of Cézanne around 1861.


His paintings of the 1860s are characterized by dark colors and the heavy use of black. They also tended to show a lot of emotion. In 1866 to 1867, Cézanne painted a series of paintings with a palette knife. Among these paintings are a series of portraits of his uncle Dominique , such as Man with the Blue Cap (1865).


Although Cézanne received encouragement from Pissarro and some of the other impressionists during the 1860s, his pictures were consistently rejected by the Paris Salon (art exhibit). Impressionism is a style of painting that concentrates on the general effect produced by a subject, without elaboration of details.This painting, Girl at the Piano (1868-1869), is a portrait of Cézanne's sister and mother.


In July 1870, Cézanne and his girlfriend, HortenseFiquet, left Paris for a town near Marseilles. Their son, Paul, was born in January 1872, and he is depicted in this painting entitled, Paul Cézanne 's Son in a High Chair (1873).


From 1872 to 1874, Cézanne worked very closely with Pissarro. During this period Cézanne became convinced that one must paint directly from nature, with the result that romantic and religious subjects began to disappear from his canvases. In addition, he began to abandon dark colors and his canvases grew much brighter as seen in, View of Auvers (1874).


Cézanne decided to participate in the first Impressionist Exhibition in 1874. Impressionism is a style of painting that focuses on the immediate feeling produced by a scene and by the use of unmixed colors and small brush strokes to imitate light, without much attention to detail. This style is very noticeable in his painting, A Lunch on Grass (1873-75).


After 1877, Cézanne gradually withdrew from his impressionist friends and increasingly worked alone at his home in southern France. This was because his work was beginning to take a more personal direction and also because of the disappointing responses which his art continued to receive from the public. Here is his painting, The Sea at L’Estaque(1878).


Although the Paris Salon rejected Cézanne's submissions every year since 1864, Cézanne continued to submit works to the Salon until 1882. In that year, the Salon accepted one of his earlier works, Portrait of Louis-Auguste Cézanne, Father of the Artist, reading 'l'Evénement', (1866). This was his first and only successful submission to the Salon.


In the early 1880s, the Cézanne family finally started to live full-time in Provence, where they remained, except for brief trips abroad. Hortense'sbrother had a house within view of Montagne Sainte-Victoire and Cézanne used this as a subject for several of his paintings. This one is entitled, Mount Sainte-Victoire Seen from Bellevue (1882-1885).


The year 1886 was a turning point for Cézanne. In this one year, Cézanne married HortenseFiquet, his father died, and he broke off his friendship with his lifelong friend Émile Zola. Zola published a novel that year about a failed artist who had many similarities to Cézanne. Cézanne was extremely hurt by this criticism of his own career by his good friend and he never spoke to Zola again. This painting, Jas de Bouffan (1885-1887), seems to capture his mood at the time.


In order to create the illusion of depth in his paintings, Cézanne used the knowledge that cold colors, such as blue and green, appear to recede and warm colors, such as red and orange, seem to stand out from the surface. He used this effect in his painting, Mardi Gras (1888), which was posed for by his son Paul and Paul’s friend Louis Guillaume.


Cézanne became sick with diabetes in 1890. This affected his personality causing problems between him and his wife as well as others. At this point in his career, he concentrated more on painting the human form. This painting is entitled, Bathers (1890-92).In 1895, one dealer started showing a large number of Cézanne’s paintings and public interest in his work slowly began to develop.


In 1895, Cézanne made a visit to Bibémus Quarries and climbed Mt. Ste. Victoire. In 1897, he rented a cabin there where he created many paintings, such as, Canyon of Bibémus (1898). He started concentrating more on geometric shapes in his paintings. The shapes are believed to have inspired the developing “Cubist” style. Cubism is when an artist shows natural forms as geometric shapes, sometimes as they are seen from various angles.


Cézanne was highly unusual in that he was equally skilled in each of these genres (types): still lifes (paintings of objects such as fruit, flowers, or food), portraits, and landscapes (paintings of scenery). Like the landscapes, his portraits were of people that he knew. This still life is entitled, Still Life with Apples and Oranges (1899).


Cézanne remained a religious person and said, "When I judge art, I take my painting and put it next to a God-made object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art.” This painting is entitled, Vase with Flowers, Chrysanthemums (1900).


One day, Cézanne was caught in a storm while working in the field. He became very ill and died of pneumonia on October 22, 1906 at the age of 67. River with the Bridge of the Three Sources (1906), was one of his last paintings.


In September 1907, many of his paintings were exhibited in Paris. It displayed examples of his work from many periods of his life and greatly influenced the direction of art in France and in the entire art world. Cézanne is considered to be one of the most influential artists of the 19th century and will be remembered for the introduction of cubism as well as for his important works in impressionism.