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Paul Cézanne

Early Life and Work

From early childhood Cézanne was a close friend of Émile Zola, who for a time encouraged the painter in his work. Cézanne went to Paris in 1861; there he met Pissarro, who strongly influenced his development. He divided his time between Provence and the environs of Paris until his retirement to Aix in 1899. Cézanne's early work is marked by a heavy use of the palette knife, from which he created thickly textured and violently deformed shapes and scenes of a fantastic, dreamlike quality. Although these impulsive paintings exhibit few of the features of his later style, they anticipate the expressionist idiom of the 20th cent.

Through Pissarro, Cézanne came to know Manet and the impressionist painters (see impressionism). He was concerned, after 1870, with the use of color to create perspective, but the steady, diffused light in his works is utterly unrelated to the impressionist preoccupation with transitory light effects. House of the Hanged Man (1873–74; Louvre) is characteristic of his impressionist period. He exhibited at the group's show of 1874 but later diverged from the impressionist style and developed a firmer structure in his paintings.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: European Art, 1600 to the Present: Biographies

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