Paul Cézanne
French painter



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Paul Cézanne
French painter
Average: 5 (3 votes)

Date of Birth

January 19, 1839

Place of Birth

Aix-en-Provence, France

Date of Death

October 22, 1906

Place of Death

Aix-en-Provence, France

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Paul Cezanne was described as “the father of us all” by Picasso, so you know he's legit.

Artists like Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Paul Klee, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Gauguin all called him a genius for bridging the gap between Impressionism and Cubism. God knows that couldn’t have been easy to do in the 1800s!

Paul Cezanne was born in Aix-en-Provence to a wealthy banker father who obviously didn’t want his son becoming an artist. But as most artists have done before him, he insisted on his career choice and moved to Paris. Eventually his father came around, giving him $400 a month to support his creative habit (which was the extent of it at the time).

Cezanne didn’t really make it big in Paris. He submitted work to the Salon five years in a row and was never accepted. He did have work in the first year of the Salon des Refuses, which as the name indicates was compiled of all the Salon rejects. But this bruised his ego a bit so he never did it again. If he could have only seen to the year 2011 when one of his paintings would sell for $250 million -- the second most expensive painting in history. But alas, such is life.

Luckily for Cezanne he had a lady friend to make him feel better. Her name was Marie-Hortense Fiquet and she was his muse/lover. (You know how these things go). She had a baby and Cezanne hid the whole thing from his father until the kid was six. When his father eventually found out, he threatened to cut him off...but ended up giving him more money than before to support his family. Ka-ching.

Cezanne also had one of his best friends from childhood with him in Paris, Emile Zola. Zola was a writer but not super good at it because most of his stuff was ripped off from his idol, Flaubert or his friends’ lives, which eventually cost him his friendship with Cezanne. The plot of one of his books was almost exactly the life of Cezanne, but made him much more of a douche, especially in terms of his relationship with Marie-Hortense and their son. The book ended their friendship, but did persuade Cezanne to marry Marie-Hortense even though he was very open about the fact that he didn’t much care for her at that point. All’s well that ends well...?




  1. Reyburn, Scott. “Auction of a Cézanne Highlights New Realities.” International Arts (International New York Times), January 12, 2015.
  2. Cohen, Rachel. Artist’s Model. (The New Yorker), October 31, 2005.
  3. McEwan, Olivia. “A Show about Delacroix’s Influence Is Sorely Missing His Work.” May 4, 2016. Accessed February 8, 2017.

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Here is what Trivium says about Paul Cézanne

"Painting certainly means more to me than everything else in the world. I think my mind becomes clearer when I am in the presence of nature. Unfortunately, the realization of my sensations is always a very painful process with me. I can’t seem to express the intensity which beats in upon my senses. I haven’t at my command the magnificent richness of color which enlivens Nature…Look at that cloud; I should like to be able to paint that! Monet could. He had muscle." — Cézanne on painting

Learn more about Paul Cézanne and other artists at Trivium Art History

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne (/sˈzæn/ say-ZAN, also UK: /sɪˈzæn/ siz-AN, US: /sˈzɑːn/ say-ZAHN,French: [pɔl sezan]; 19 January 1839 – 22 October 1906) was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavor to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century.

Cézanne is said to have formed the bridge between late 19th-century Impressionism and the early 20th century's new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. Cézanne's often repetitive, exploratory brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognizable. He used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields. The paintings convey Cézanne's intense study of his subjects. Both Matisse and Picasso are said to have remarked that Cézanne "is the father of us all".

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Paul Cézanne.