Cezanne, Paul

Cezanne, Paul Biography

French painter, one of the greatest of the Post-Impressionists, whose artworks and ideas were influential in the aesthetic development of many 20th-century artists and art movements, especially Cubism. Cezanne's art, misunderstood and discredited by the public during most of his life, grew out of Impressionism and eventually challenged all the conventional values of painting in the 19th century because of his insistence on personal expression and on the integrity of the oil painting itself, regardless of subject matter.

Although critical sympathy and public acceptance came to Cezanne only in the last decade of his career, his quest to see through appearances to the logic of underlying formal structure always drew admiration among his colleagues. His hope that his oil paintings would serve as a form of education for other artists was achieved when a number of important painters purchased his work, including Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Pierre Bonnard, Kazimir Malevich, Henri Matisse, and Marcel Duchamp. A 1907 retrospective showing of his works (56 oil paintings) was held at the Salon d'Automne in Paris and won considerable acclaim. That same year Picasso created his seminal Demoiselles d'Avignon, clearly inspired by Cezanne's groundbreaking Bathers of 1900-05. Indeed, Cezanne's intellectual approach to formal issues-particularly his spatial explorations-laid the foundation forPicasso and other artists' subsequent explorations with Cubism, while his investigations of colour and brushstroke influenced Matisse and other Fauve artists in the first decade of the century.

Picasso offered the most succinct assessment of Cezanne's role for subsequent generations of artists, declaring that he was "the father of us all."

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