Paul Cézanne was an 18th century Post-Impressionist painter, who was often referred to as “the father of us all” by artists like Matisse and Picasso. Cézanne was born on January 19th 1839 in the town of Aix-en-Provence, in southern France. While his father Louis-Auguste was the co-founder of a prosperous banking firm, his mother Anne-Elisabeth was a vivacious romantic. He also had two younger sisters Marie and Rose.
Paul Cézanne began studying drawing from the age of ten, when he entered the Saint Joseph boarding-school in Aix. When he was 20 years old, he began to attend the Law School of the University of Aix, according to his father’s wishes. He later dropped out of the University, and went on to pursue his artistic ambitions. In this, he was strongly encouraged by Emile Zola, his childhood friend.
Cézanne later went to Paris, where he met other Impressionists, such as Camille Pissarro, with whom he developed a working relationship. He had a mistress named Marie-Hortense Fiquet, whom he married in 1886. They had a son Paul, who was born in 1872. Soon after his marriage, his father passed away leaving him a vast estate.
In his early career, Cezanne concentrated on painting pictures with large figures in the landscape. Later on, he developed a more light and airy style that had a great influence on other Impressionist painters. Cézanne was interested in simplifying naturally occurring forms to their geometric shapes, such as a cylinder, sphere or cone. Additionally, he began recording his observations of nature through binocular vision, enabling viewers to see two different views at the same time. He also painted many still-lifes and nudes.
Paul Cézanne died of pneumonia on October 22nd 1906 at the age of 67 years, a few days after he was caught in a storm while working in a field. After his death, his paintings were exhibited in Paris in a large scale museum-like retrospective.