Paul Cézanne was the son of a banker and was born in Aix-en-Provence in January 1839. He trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Aix and copied the Old Masters in the Musée Granet.
In 1861, Cézanne joined his childhood friend, Emile Zola, in Paris and attended the free Académie Suisse, where he met Pissarro. Although he also studied the work of Delacroix and Coubert, it was Pissarro who became his mentor.
Cézanne exhibited at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. He abandoned the imaginative subject matter and heavy impasto technique of his early style for landscape paintings and still-lifes, stating that his aim was to ‘do Poussin over again from nature’: that is to create lucid, monumental compositions out of transient nature, thereby sowing the seeds for the destruction of Impressionism.
He also painted figure subjects, such as the Card Players, endowing them with the permanence and structure of a still-life, and worked on portraits throughout his career. Towards the end of his life, Cézanne also adopted the medium of watercolour with great success. He was the subject of a ‘blockbuster’ exhibition which toured some of the world’s major art galleries in the mid-1990s.
Paul Cezanne died in 1906.