(French, 1839–1906) was one of the most prominent Post-Impressionist painters, and is best known for his angular, geometric works that prefigured Cubism. Born in Aix-en-Provence, France, Cézanne studied art as a youth, and later abandoned his studies in law school to join his friend and writer Emile Zola in Paris. There, Cézanne befriended Camille Pissarro
(French, 1831–1903), Claude Monet
(French, 1840-1926), and Pierre-Auguste Renoir
(French, 1841-1919), and spent the next two decades living in both Paris and southern France. Cézanne’s early paintings were exhibited in the Salon des Refusés show in 1863 and with the Impressionist circle in the early 1870s, but he was continually rejected by the academic Salon, exhibiting his work there just once, in 1882. His early paintings at this time were characterized by heavy brushstrokes and studies of the transitory effects of light.
He began living in the south of France permanently in the 1880s, experimenting with structural forms in the 1890s and 1900s. In explorations of the edges of light, shadow, and color in painting, Cézanne rendered his compositions with architectonic forms that would directly influence the work of Cubist and Fauvist artists a decade later, and significantly impact the development of Modern Art. Towards the end of his life, Cézanne received increasingly positive critical attention, and he displayed work at the Salon des Indépendants, the Salon d’Automne, and the centennial exhibition in Paris. In 1906, Cézanne died in Aix-en-Provence. His work is in the collections of the Louvre Museum in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Courtauld Gallery in London.