It is generally accepted that Paul Cézanne is one of the greatest artists in the history of painting. His own work as a colorist and as an exponent of an entirely original style in both the oil and the watercolor might be sufficient proof of this judgment, but he was much more than simply a superlative practitioner. For all of his rough provincialism, he was a theorist who not only put his theories into practice but also showed the way for the entirely new art of the twentieth century. It is difficult to think how that art might have gone had Cézanne not provided it with three singularly important clues.
His own work—beginning so unpromisingly, slowly accumulating form and individuality, absorbing the influences of the past and that of his contemporaries, especially the struggling Impressionists, blossoming into one of the most singularly distinctive styles in the history of painting—proved that there was always room for making art new if ambition, will, and talent could hold out against indifference, neglect, and derision. --
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