Paul Cézanne (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Cézanne’s innovative and brilliant style challenged the conventions of nineteenth century art and had a major influence on twentieth century cubists and abstract artists.
Paul Cézanne was born at Aix-en-Provence, a town in the south of France, not far from Marseilles and the Mediterranean. His father’s family came from the Italian Alpine village Cesana (hence the surname) in the seventeenth century and had a history of minor business activities. Louis-Auguste, Paul’s father, started out as a hat maker, at which he was a success, and eventually became a banker in Aix. He lived with Anne-Élisabeth-Honorine Aubert for several years before marrying her in 1844, and Paul was one of their children born before they were married. The family was financially secure, and Paul was educated locally. Interested in art, he took some instruction at the local École des Beaux Arts. One of his closest friends then, and in later life, was Émile Zola, who was to become one of France’s greatest men of letters.
Cézanne’s enthusiasm for art was tolerated by his father, but he was expected to make a career in the law. He was a good student and entered the University of Aix-en-Provence to study law, but after passing his first-year exams, he asked his father if he might join his friend Zola, who had gone to Paris to make his way as a journalist. Cézanne wanted to study at the prestigious...
(The entire section is 2108 words.)
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