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Paul Cezanne - Post-Impressionist Painter

Updated on August 23, 2009

Artist Paul Cezanne was born on January 19, 1839 in Aix-en-Provence, Provence. His father was a successful banker. From 1852 to 1859, he attended College Bourbon where he became friends with writer Emile Zola. In 1861, he attended law school at the University of Aix and also took drawing lessons. He left school without getting his degree and moved to Paris on the advice of Zola. His father gave in and accepted his son’s choice to be an artist and gave him 400,000 francs as well as an annuity of 100 francs.

While in Paris, Cezanne befriended Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro who became a mentor. In 1863, Cezanne had his first exhibition at the Salon des Refuses after being rejected by the Salon de Paris. He also exhibited at many of the exhibitions of the Impressionist artists such as Seurat, Renoir and Monet.

Self portrait 1875
Self portrait 1875

In 1872, Cezanne and his mistress Marie-Hortense Figuet had a son, Paul. The couple eventually married in 1886; they reportedly had an uneven relationship that resulted in many separations. He wrote his wife out of his will in 1902. Beginning in 1890, Cezanne had many health problems including diabetes. In 1891, he became a Catholic.

Paul Cezanne died on October 22, 1906 of pneumonia.

Cezanne remains a popular artist today and influenced modern artists like Picasso and Braque.

Cezanne Quotes

We live in a rainbow of chaos.

Right now a moment is fleeting by! Capture its reality in paint! To do that we must put all else out of our minds. We must become that moment, make ourselves a sensitive recording plate. give the image of what we actually see, forgetting everything that has been seen before our time.

For an impressionist to paint from nature is not to paint the subject, but to realize sensations.

Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one's sensations.

Paul Alexis reading to Emile Zola 1869-1870

Boy in a Red Vest 1888-1890

Still Life with a Curtain 1895

River with the Bridge of the Three Sources 1906


Submit a Comment

  • Tomoki  Akimaru profile image

    Tomoki Akimaru 

    5 years ago from Kyoto, Japan

    This is a good hub.

    Furthermore, I would like to add some information about Cezanne’s painting technique.

    As one of the many factors in the art of Cezanne, the transformed vision induced by the steam railway had a large influence on his paintings.

    Actually, in a letter to Emile Zola, written on April 14, 1878, Cezanne praised the Mont Sainte-Victoire seen through the window of a moving train: “Quel beau motif (What beautiful motif).”

    In fact, Cezanne began painting the Mont Sainte-Victoire series around 1878.

    In short, Cezanne wanted to realize in his paintings, the transformation of visual perception induced by the steam railway as one of his famous “sensations.”

    Indeed, in many of Cezanne’s paintings, his strokes are repeated in the transverse direction, while the ridgelines are emphasized in a horizontal direction, and the images of things that are nearer appear rougher.

    Cezanne and the Steam Railway (1): A Transformation of Visual Perception in the 19th Century

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Thanks Mike...they were fun to write.

  • Mike's Corner profile image

    Mike's Corner 

    7 years ago from Maryland

    Great hub, Uninvited Writer, Cezanne has always been one of my favorites . . . his paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire near his home in Provence have always been my favorites . . . looking forward to reading all of your other art history hubs :)

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    9 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    I feel so bad I didn't reply to comments before. I have no excuses. Thanks so much for dropping by.

  • Laura Spector profile image

    Laura Spector 

    9 years ago from Chiang Mai, Thailand

    A truly magical artist - and a grandfather to everyone that's come after him! I don't think many people realize how instrumental he was into getting us to where we are today. Thank you for the article!

  • William F. Torpey profile image

    William F Torpey 

    9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

    I enjoyed the hub, Uninvited Writer, and the videos. While Cezanne and the other great artists certainly have artistic talent, I have never been able to appreciate their work to the extent others do. I'm afraid if I ever came across a Cezanne for sale my highest offer would be $75. I'll never understand the fascination of a fruit basket that artists seem to adore -- and I passed my UConn course on "Art Appreciation," if you can believe that.

  • stephhicks68 profile image

    Stephanie Hicks 

    9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

    I love art history, and your series on post-impressionist painters is simply divine! Great work. I am enjoying the history lesson nearly as much as the images. :)

  • khadilkarprakash profile image


    9 years ago from India

    Right now I deciding to read more hubs than accepting the challange. Yes this the moment and I want to capture it in Cezanne Style. Impressionism is not just a way of painting it is really a way of living. That is what i learnt from this hub.

  • MotherHubber profile image


    9 years ago from Southern California

    I enjoyed reading this, Uninvited Writer. I didn't know a lot about Cezanne, and it's been a lonnnnnng time since my art history course in college. Beautiful, good quality images, too. Thanks for bringing a little bit of art into my day.


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