born Aix-en-Provence 1839, died Aix-en-Provence 1906
Cézanne studied law for three years in his native Aix; at the same time, however, he took lessons in the free city drawing school. When his father finally relented and allowed him to go to study art in Paris, in the summer of 1861, he was unhappy there and returned home, where he worked in his father's bank.
Restless, he was back in Paris in 1862, enrolled again at the Académie Suisse, showed in the Salon des Refusés of 1863, and came to know Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and others. After 1864 he would divide his time between Paris and Aix. Cézanne was able, thanks to his prosperous family, to devote himself to his art.
Cézanne's early paintings are marked by romantic, violent, and erotic themes and a deep regard for the old masters. Pissarro introduced Cézanne to painting out-of-doors and a new way of applying paint.
Although Cézanne showed with the independent artists in 1874 and 1877, his vision of structure and solidity was at odds with theirs of sensuousness and spontaneity. He withdrew from them physically and artistically, living in Aix and no longer showing his work in the capital. Only in 1895 did Ambroise Vollard hold an exhibition of Cézanne's work in Paris, an event that galvanized young artists. The 1905 exhibition of more than 30 of his canvases at the Salon d'Automne established Cézanne's status as a role model for 20th-century painters.
The pond c 1877–79, Paul Cézanne.
Oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Tompkins Collection – Arthur Gordon Tompkins Fund
Self-portrait with a béret c1898–99, Paul Cézanne.
Oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Charles H Bayley Picture and Painting Fund and partial gift of Elizabeth Paine Metcalf