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Paul Cézanne. Modern Artist of France. Born 1839, Died 1906 Paul Cézanne was born in France to a wealthy family. His father owned a bank and wanted Paul to take over the bank when he was grown up.

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paul c zanne

Paul Cézanne

Modern Artist of France

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Born 1839, Died 1906

Paul Cézanne was born in France to a wealthy family.

His father owned a bank and wanted Paul to take over the bank when he was grown up.

But Paul had different ideas. He was a brilliant student and loved to read great literature and write poetry. He did not show an interest in art during school.

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As Paul grew older he realized he wanted be a painter. But Paul’s father insisted he continued his education, including law school, so that he would be able to work and earn a good living.

Paul could not argue with his father so he went to law school. But Paul was able to convince his father to allow him to set up an art studio as long as he continued his education in law school.

Then he was able to convince his father to allow him one trip to Paris to attend art school. Paul was from a small town with no art galleries or exposure to current art.

Portrait of the Artist's Father

Self Portrait 1877

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Cézanne saw for the first time the work of other great artists in the Salon. One of his fellow students was Claude Monet.

When Cézanne returned home from his time in Paris, his father insisted he start work at the bank. However, after one year his father realized that Paul would never be a banker and let him move back to Paris.

In Paris, Cézanne attended classes and spent time with other artists, including Monet. Many of these artists could not get their work recognized by the Salon. Cézanne was also rejected by the Salon and agree to show his works with the group who were to be known as the Impressionists.

But even the Impressionists were not comfortable with Cézanne’s work. It was very different from everyone else’s and his art was called the work of a madman. Cézanne was very hurt by the criticism.

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Cézanne found help from friends and learned how to control how he organized his paintings. He set a rigid schedule that included waking at 4 am, painting from 6 to 11 am followed by lunch and a rest. Then we would walk with his easel and supplies and paint outdoors. He would eat a 6 pm and be in bed by 6 pm every evening.

This allowed him to focus on the one thing he found comfort in, his art.

Cézanne’s paintings were not accepted by the critics or public while he was alive. Within a year after his death, Cézanne’s paintings were accepted and written about by the art critics as an artist with a vision. His paintings were sold around the world at record-breaking prices.

By 1914, 8 years after his death, his paintings had been seen in some of the top art museums. He was no longer Cézanne the madman but Cézanne the master.

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Title: Landscape

Date: 1902-1906

Medium: Oils on canvas