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Paul Cezanne

As one of the most influential artists in the 20th century, Paul Cezanne is well known for his short brush strokes, color, tone and design. He is famous for paving the way for the Post-Impressionist movement and created the geometrical style of Cubism. In the Aix-en-Provence in the South of France, Paul Cezanne was born on January 19, 1839 into a wealthy family. With art in the center of his focus, Cezanne attended three different art schools by the age of 20, but was encouraged to attend law school by his father in 1858. By 1861, he dropped out and moved to Paris to focus on his art and remained there for the majority of his life.

He began his painting career in the Impressionist style with light and airy landscapes, but then he developed a darker, more sinister style using blacks and deeper hues using direct observations as his subject. In the mid 1870’s, his subjects grew from just landscapes to portraits, still-life and other dramatic scenes. This style continued for almost a decade; then he began to paint how he interpreted the subject, using a simpler form of geometric shapes rather than direct likeness. He introduced a binocular vision to his work by having the focus of his paintings start at a focal point and expand.

This different style caused a lot of critics to discredit his work. In the late 19th century, his popularity increased though only receiving one showing in the Salon. His work was precious to him as he “want[ed] to make of impressionism something solid and lasting like the art in the museum”. He created the bridge between the 19th century Impressionism and 20th century abstract art, paving the way for the up and coming cubists, Picasso and Matisse. In the fall of 1906, Cezanne died of pneumonia and left the world with a lasting legacy.

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