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About Paul Cezanne - Famous French Painter

Updated on November 11, 2015
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Katherine has researched and written about many British, European and Japanese Artists - both past and present

An Introduction to Paul Czanne (1839-1906)

Find out about the famous Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne.

This overview of Cezanne's life and art provides a compendium of links to more information about:

  • Cezanne's paintings, drawings and sketchbooks;
  • museums and art galleries, exhibitions and websites where you can see his work;
  • the places Cezanne painted in Provence
  • books and articles about his artwork and his life and other resources for improving your knowledge of Cezanne, his unique approach to painting and his views on art (and society).

Why is Cezanne important?


  • Paul Cezanne is considered by many to be the most influential painter of the late 19th century.
  • He is often referred to as the "father of modern painting" (Henri Matisse once called Cezanne, "...the father of us all.")
  • Cezanne is a prominent Post-Impressionist painter. He responded to the limitations of Impressionism and created a new artistic vocabulary which synthesized reality and abstraction. This in turn became a critical influence on early Modernism.
  • Many curators consider him to be a very important influence. His work stands at the transition between art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Museums have made his work pivotal to the organisation of their collection of paintings
  • Pablo Picasso readily admitted his great debt to the elder master.


  • Cezanne emphasised the process of painting and studied form and colour
  • He identified form using those which he considered to be those most frequently found in nature - the 'cylinder, sphere and the cone'.
  • He developed a way of seeing which emphasised planes - which was developed subsequently by Picasso and others as cubism
  • His paintings record minute variations in tone and colour observed over long periods
  • He left the paper blank - as a colour - when painting in watercolour


  • Cezanne almost single-handedly revived the still life as a legitimate subject for modern painting.
  • Cezanne did not travel much and is very much associated with the landscapes of Provence.

Cezanne's Life

NEW! The Letters of Paul Cezanne Hardcover - by Alex Danchev (Editor, Translator)

Cezanne's letters provide an insight into his life and his thought processes with respect to art and painting.A new edition - in English - of Cezanne's letters - illustrated with his work which corrects mistakes made in a previous translation .Read this review in the Magazine of the Royal Aacdemy of Arts - Cezanne's thoughts writ large by Edmund Fawcett

The Letters of Paul Cézanne
The Letters of Paul Cézanne

Hardcover: 400 pagesPublisher: J. Paul Getty Museum; 1 edition (October 1, 2013)


Overview of the life and work of Paul Cezanne

Self Portrait by Paul Cezanne [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

These sites provide biographical overviews of Cezanne's life. Cezanne is pronounced 'Say-zahn'

BOOK: Cezanne: A Life - by Alex Danchev

Rated 4.4 out of 5 stars (13 customer reviews) | Like (20)A review of both his life and his lasting influence on art. This book has received some impressive reviews from the art press

Cezanne: A Life
Cezanne: A Life

Hardcover: 512 pagesPublisher: Pantheon; First Edition edition (October 23, 2012)


A chronology of the life of Paul Cezanne - NGA - Cezanne in Provence: A Provenal Chronology of Czanne:

This chronology comes from the website of the 2006 Cezanne exhibition at the National Gallery of art in Washington

BOOKS: The Life of Cezanne - books on Amazon

Cezanne's Places and Landscapes

"To Nature, one need be neither too scrupulous nor too sincere nor too submissive." Paul Cezanne

Maps of where Cezanne painted

Find out where exactly Cezanne painted when he was in ProvenceCzanne gained inspiration from the Aix-en-Provence. He said the area "conceals treasures which have not yet found the artist capable of expressing the riches to be discovered here".These are the places associated with CezanneJas de Bouffan - 17 Route de Galice Aix-en-ProvenceJas de Bouffan is the 17th-century country house his father, Louis-Auguste Cezanne, bought on 15 September 1859. They moved in around 1870. Between 1881 and 1885, the roof of the house had to be replaced and he made a little studio in the attic for his son Paul. After the death of his father in 1886, Czanne set up his studio in the large room on the ground floor. On 18 September 1899, two years after the death of Mrs Cezanne, Cezanne and his two sisters sold Jas de Bouffan.

"Jas de Bouffan. The Pond" (1876)


Cezanne's Studio

L'Atelier des Lauves. Cezanne's Studio - 9 avenue Paul Cezanne 13090 Aix-en-Provence

In November 1901, Cezanne bought a small country property on the Lauves hillside which was surrounded by agricultural land, olive and fig trees and bordered by the Verdon canal. The Atelier des Lauves, a two-story structure that still exists, gave Cezanne the privacy he craved while placing him closer to favorite motifs such as the Montagne Sainte-Victoire.

This was Cezanne's last studio.

I've visited the studio and it contains objects seen in his still life paintings done in later life. But for the dust, you'd be persuaded that he's just stepped out to paint plein air!

"Mont Sainte-Victoire" (1887)

The Sainte-Victoire mountain. This provided a constant source of fascination to the artist. He painted the 1,000 metre mountain for the first time in 1870, and then agai
The Sainte-Victoire mountain. This provided a constant source of fascination to the artist. He painted the 1,000 metre mountain for the first time in 1870, and then agai | Source

"Mont Sainte-Victoire" (1887) by Paul Czanne [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsThe Sainte-Victoire mountainThis provided a constant source of fascination to the artist. He painted the 1,000 metre mountain for the first time in 1870, and then again in 1885-86.

In the park of Chateau Noir

The Chateau Noir is on the D17 between Aix and the Mont Sainte Victoire.The Bibemus QuarriesCezanne painted a series of landscapes at Bibemus stone quarrie
The Chateau Noir is on the D17 between Aix and the Mont Sainte Victoire.The Bibemus QuarriesCezanne painted a series of landscapes at Bibemus stone quarrie | Source

Bibemus Quarry

"Bibemus Quarry" (1898-1900) by Paul Czanne [Public domain]
"Bibemus Quarry" (1898-1900) by Paul Czanne [Public domain] | Source

"Chateau Noir" (1900-1904)

oil on canvas;  Dimensions: 74 × 96.5 cm (29.1 × 38 in)
oil on canvas; Dimensions: 74 × 96.5 cm (29.1 × 38 in) | Source

Chateau Noir

19 oil paintings and 20 watercolours

"Chteau Noir" (1900-1904) by Paul Czanne [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

From 1887 onwards, Cezanne rented a small room in the pistachio tree courtyard.He invited me for an outing to Chateau Noir... One sunny afternoon, he came to pick us up in a car that he rented by the year so that, if he was tired, he could get to his subject or to his studio outside the town. We all left in high spirits, and followed a road which became more and morelovely. Atlastwesawsomepinewoods,andhemademegetout to have a better look at the place, which we explored together. Despite his age, he was extremely agile and was able to clamber across the rocks"(Emile Bernard).

Mont Sainte-Victoire seen from Les Lauves - 44 oil paintings and 43 watercolours

Cezanne chose the highest viewpoint of the mountain when he set his easel near Chemin de Marguerite. Between 1902 and 1906, he often returned to complete 11 oils on canvas and 17 watercolours which today residen in the great museums of the world or prestigious private collectionsThe city of Aix-en-Provence has created the painters' ground (terrain des peintres) within the Marguerite Estate. Opposite the mountain which, from this angle, becomes a figurehead, ten panels depict the main views of Mont Sainte-Victoire as painted by Cezanne from Chemin de la Marguerite.Features of the Provencal landscape which are evident in the paintings - and can still be seen to day - include wheat fields, road to the Alps, red roofs of houses and the power plant.In February 1904, Emile Bernard accompanied Cezanne to paint his famous motif"It was two kilometres from the studio, facing a valley, at the foot of Sainte-Victoire, that bold mountain that he never stopped painting in watercolour and oil, and which filled him with admiration.

Cezanne in Provence

BOOKS: Cezanne in Provence - books on Amazon

Provence was a very important place to Cezanne. It was his home, where he lived for nearly the last 20 years of his life, and where he painted some of his most famous landscapes

Information about Aix en Provence and Cezanne

Tourist Office
Les Allées Provençales
300 avenue Giuseppe Verdi – BP 160
13 605 Aix en Provence cedex 1

GPS : Latitude 43.526200 – Longitude 05.444703

Bus stop:

Parking: Rotonde Car Park

The city of Aix-en- Provence and Aix Regional Community organized a series of highlights in 2006 - on the occasion of the centenary of the death of Paul Czanne (1839 - 1906).

Cezanne and Still Life

BOOK: Czanne in the Studio: Still Life in Watercolors - by Carol Armstrong. Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University

Published re. exhibition at the Getty Museum from October 12, 2004 to January 2, 2005

Cezanne in the Studio: Still Life in Watercolors
Cezanne in the Studio: Still Life in Watercolors

Hardcover: 160 pagesPublisher: Oxford University Press, USA (November 1, 2004)


"With an apple I will astonish Paris."Paul Cezanne

Cezanne and Still Life

"Still Life with apple and biscuits" by Paul Czanne [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

"Czanne was preoccupied with still life, and painted the same objects over and over again. His concentrated study of familiar items enabled him to develop a new way of capturing his visual sensations. He believed that conventional perspective, which uses a single viewpoint, did not accurately reflect the way that we perceive the world."Tate Museum - Cezanne

Cezanne's Watercolour Paintings

"Drawing and colour are not separate at all; in so far as you paint, you draw. The more the colour harmonizes, the more exact the drawing becomes."Paul Cezanne

Reviews of Cezanne's watercolours

The Bridge of Trois-sautets (le Pont Des Trois-sautets), (c. 1906) watercolor and pencil by Paul Czanne, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Czanne painted watercolor still lifes throughout his career.At the end of his career, between 1902 and 1906, he made his largest, most complicated watercolor still lifes in his final studio at Les Lauves, near his native Aix-en-Provence. Today the studio is open as a museum and preserves a number of the objects that he painted in his still lifes.


Cezanne's art in online galleries

These online sites provide an accessible overview of Cezanne's paintings for those who want to learn more about his art.I very much recommend The Athenaeum as a resource for learning.

Museums and Art Galleries - Paintings by Paul Cezanne

These sites provide links to the collections of Cezanne paintings and major exhibitions Cezanne's artwork in various museums around the world

Exhibitions of Paul Czanne's artwork

This is a record of major exhibitions of Cezanne's paintings

VIDEOS: Cezanne on You Tube

BOOK: Letters on Czanne - by Rainer Maria Rilke

© 2008 Katherine Tyrrell

Comments and Suggestions - Let me know what you think - but please do not spam!

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    • profile image

      Deadicated LM 

      7 years ago

      Paul Cezaane is one of my favorites, good Lens and information; thanks for sharing.

    • Millionairemomma profile image


      7 years ago

      I've seen his work in museums which are spectacular. Wonderful lens. I will now go and check out your blog!

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 

      9 years ago

      You have done a wonderful job with this lens concerning Cezanne's life and works. See you around the galaxy...

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image


      9 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Remarkable Lens!! I know the name Cezanne but little about his art and life's work. I will favor and return to learn more about this interesting artist. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      What a superbly done lens!I enjoyed reading more about Cezanne in a easy style.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 

      9 years ago

      Lensroilled to my 'Inspiration for Artists' lens

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 

      9 years ago

      A really valuable resource. Thanks

    • makingamark profile imageAUTHOR

      Katherine Tyrrell 

      9 years ago from London

      To the person who asked me to add a link into an art website. I only add links to sites which have identifiable owners. This one did not.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Several years ago I bought a CD-ROM from Corbis entitled, PAUL CEZANNE: Portrait of my world. Unfortunately, I checked the Corbis website and didn't see this particular CD listed. (However, there are other fine art listings but I don't know if they are available in CD form either.)The CD-ROM is well worth the effort to locate a copy...many, many paintings, bio, etc.

    • makingamark profile imageAUTHOR

      Katherine Tyrrell 

      10 years ago from London

      Thanks Aimee - you may well find videos by me of Cezanne's work when you come back!I start these lenses to learn about an artist - so they tend to start impersonal and become more personal as I get to know the artist better and find out more about them. One of the things that i do like about Cezanne is the way he 'hatched' with a brush - I hatch all the times with my pencil and I keep looking out for people who also work with a brush in the same way.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi!I saw Cezanne's paintings at the MoMa a week ago. Very beautiful - they were actually a high-light of the visit to NYC for me. Something about his rhytm or pulse (always awkward to find the right words for such an impression) in the paintings that went straight to my heart.There is too much here for one time - thank you for collecting these links. I'll be back :)One little suggestion/question: I would really be curious to read why you are drawn to Cezanne? What made you put all the work in to create this lens? It is in itself a pretty 'impersonal' lens, but the dedication it shows suggests something more personal..?Aimee


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