Paul Cezanne was born in Aix-en-Provence to wealthy parents (his father was a banker). School friend, Emile Zola (and later novelist) introduced him to Manet and Courbet. In 1861 he was persuaded by Zola to take up study in Paris. It was at the Academie Suisse where he met Camille Pissarro and other Impressionists. In the early 1870s Cezanne experimented with Impressionism but remained an outsider because his earliest works were Expressionistic and he never really adopted their aims and techniques. He later experimented with Classicism using more balanced and formal compositions.
Cezanne was an artist whose work is impersonal and remote. His art, misunderstood and discredited by the public during most of his life, eventually challenged all the conventional values of painting in the 19th century through his insistence on personal expression and on the integrity of the painting itself.
Many regard Cezanne as the first truly modern atist. He, along with van Gogh and Gauguin, are considered the greatest Post-Impressionist who influenced the aesthetic development of many 20th century artists and art movements including Abstraction. Toward the end of his life he was at his most daring, reducing nature into geometric shapes and paving the way for the work of Cubists and Fauves.
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