- Cézanne, Paul
- (1839-1906)painterBorn in Aix-en-Provence, Paul Cézanne, who is considered a father of modern art and who had a profound effect upon the art of the 20th century, was the son of a banker. In his youth he was a friend of émile zola. After studying classics and the law and against the wishes of his family, Cézanne dedicated himself to painting. In 1863, he arrived in Paris, where he became influenced by the works of eugène Delacroix and other artists such as Tintoretto and Rubens. In his early works, Cézanne adopted the color theories of Delacroix and the idea of "simultaneous contrasts" formulated by eugène chevreul. Cézanne's early paintings reveal a romantic sensibility in their dramatic and sometimes violent themes (Les Assassins, L'Orgie, L'Enlèvement), as well as lyrical ones (Jugement de Paris, Déjeuner sur l'herbe), and he also painted at this stage a series of portraits (L'Homme au bonnet de coton, Paul Alexis lisant à Zola). These early works show the influence of gustave courbet, but those dated from the period 1872-73 demonstrate an assimilation of the impressionist style, acquired at Auvers-sur-Oise from camille pissarro (Maison de pendu à Auvers). Cézanne soon separated himself from the usual impressionist style to develop his own vigorous technique, characterized by large and accentuated compositions (Mer à l'Estaque). His ambition, as he stated, was to go beyond impressionism. Having a great respect for the old masters (Veronese, chardin), he attempted to combine their techniques with those of the impressionists to create a new form. As he developed these theories and techniques, Cézanne, especially in his later works (Les Joueurs de cartes), achieved a form in which color and design are closely combined in the development of the composition. In the 1880s and 1890s, he discovered a means of rendering both the light and the form of nature with a single application of color. He sought to use color to solve the technical problems of impressionism through what he called "color modulation." Volumetric forms were also juxtaposed with strokes of pure color. Abstraction prevails and spaces are very flat, while images are defined by geometric patches of color. Exterior and interior scenes that demonstrate this style and technique include La Montagne Sainte-Victoire, Tables de cuisine, Portrait de Gustave Geffroy, Les Grandes Baigneuses (The Bathers), and Le Grand Pin. Cézanne's work, little appreciated for the greater part of his life, had an enormous influence on modern artists. He was the greatest single influence on henri matisse, who drew upon Cézanne's use of color, and a major influence on Pablo Picasso, who developed Cézanne's planar compositional structure into the cubist style. Known initially to only a few of his impressionist colleagues, Cézanne was finally featured in major exhibitions in 1896 and 1904, and, by his death in 1906, he was recognized as a master of the modern era. He is considered to have contributed to the greatest change in Western art since the Quattrocentro and as a beginning point for the art of the 20th century.
France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.