Paul Cezanne

Paul Cezanne was a French Painter, born on January 19th, 1839 in Aix-en-Provence, France. He was an Impressionist artist, and was the author of many landscapes of Provence in France, and especially of the countryside of Aix-en-Provence. The mountains of Sainte-Victoire was the centerpiece of many of his work and many feel that nothing influenced his early works more.

He also was a very close friend to Emile Zola, a French writer, journalist, and considered as the chief of naturalism. He was one of the most popular novelist, one of the most published, translated and commented in the world. But in the last years of his life, Paul Cezanne fell out with Emile Zola.

He first went to Law School at the University of Aix-en-Provence. However, he realized rather quickly that law school was not for him. Although it is pure speculation, just imagine if Cezanne had opted to study law and also to pursue painting. Instead of remaining in France, lets imagine him traveling with his mistress, Marie-Hortense Fiquet to Louisiana at the start of the Franco-Prussian War in July 1870. He decides to settle in Baton Rouge, a quaint old place with 10,378 inhabitants that was located on a bluff above the Mississippi. Originally Baton Rouge was established as a military post by the French in 1719. Later after the Louisiana Purchase, town was incorporated in 1817, becoming Louisiana’s state capital in 1849. By the time Cezanne arrived, the Civil War was over and Baton Rouge was continuing its steady growth as the result of steamboat trade and transportation. With his law degree Cezanne could have become a Baton Rouge maritime attorney while still exploring his art and his desire to capture the truth of perception by representing in paint his world of Louisiana. However, Cezanne chose a radically different direction. Going against the objections of his banker father, he left law school to singularly pursue his artistic development.

In 1861 he left Aix for Paris, encourage by his close friend Emile Zola. Although he was turned down from art school because of an excessive temper, he met in Paris at the Swiss Academy not only Camille Pissarro, but also Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, and Alfred Sisley. A friendship formed in the mid-1860s between Pissarro and Cézanne as that of master and disciple, in which Pissarro exerted a formative influence on the younger artist.

From 1862 to 1870, Cezanne was first called a romantic painter, or a baroque painter, inspired by Italian or Spanish baroque painters like Ribera or Zurbaran. Then he went trough a period of impressionism because influenced by Pissarro. At this time, he was also associating with Vincent Van Gogh. But while this period of impressionism, many painters of this time were convinced that Cezanne had passed this phase, and was ahead in terms of painting.

Cezanne painted approximately 300 works, from landscapes to still-life. He also greatly affected the direction that the avant-garde in Paris took, lending credence to his position as one of the most influential artists of the 19th century and to the advent of Cubism. As a matter of fact, his explorations of geometric simplification and optical phenomena inspired Picasso, Braque and Gris, and others to experiment with ever more complex multiple views of the same subject, and eventually to the fracturing of form.

Paul Cezanne profoundly affected the development of modern art.

Leave a Reply