Sunday, January 19, 2014

Happy Birthday Paul Cezanne

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th-century Impressionism and the early 20th century's new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. The line attributed to both Matisse and Picasso that Cézanne "is the father of us all" is the simple truth.

Paul Cezanne was born in Provence and the soil of his native countryside nurtured him like no other. Other artists of the 19th century went to Paris to make their fortune; not Cezanne. He never felt at home outside his native Aix-en-Provence. In the rocky hillsides and peasantry, Cezanne found the images that inspired him.

He participated in Impressionism, studied with Pisarro but moved away from the Impressionists fluid use of color toward a more structred composition and intense, satured color. A son of Provence, Cezanne made that part of France his own, creating works that convey a powerful sense of place but that are also universal.

Success was slow in coming but by the time he died (1906), he was gaining recognition as the "father of modern art."

After Cézanne died in 1906, his paintings were exhibited in Paris in a large museum-like retrospective in September 1907. The 1907 Cézanne retrospective at the Salon d'Automne greatly affected the direction that the avant-garde in Paris took, lending credence to his position as one of the most influential artists of the 19th century and to the advent of Cubism.

Inspired by Cézanne, two of the younger artists wrote: "Cézanne is one of the greatest of those who changed the course of art history . . . From him we have learned that to alter the coloring of an object is to alter its structure. His work proves without doubt that painting is not—or not any longer—the art of imitating an object by lines and colors, but of giving plastic [solid] form to our nature.” (Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger in Du "Cubisme", 1912)


Comprehensive biography including a slideshow with proper analysis on each painting featured: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pcez/hd_pcez.htm

The complete works: http://www.paul-cezanne.org

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