French Artists

French Artists
  • Paul Cézanne
  • Gustave Courbet
  • Jacques-Louis David
  • Edgar Degas
  • Eugène Delacroix
  • Paul Gauguin
  • Claude Monet
  • Auguste Renoir
  • Nicolas Poussin
  • Henri Matisse
  • Antoine Watteau
  • Jean-François Millet
  • Charles Le Brun
  • Jean Fouquet

Paul Cézanne (1839 - 1906)

The renowned French painter, Paul Cézanne, was born on January 19, 1839, in the southern French town of Aix-en-Provence, the son of a wealthy banker. At the age of 20, he began studying law at the Université d'Aix, but abandoned these studies in 1861 to take up painting full-time. He moved to Paris, met Emile Zola, who greatly encouraged Cézanne in his work. A little later he met Pissaro, who also had a great influence in the young artist’s development. Pissaro introduced Cézanne to Manet and that was how he came into contact with the rest of the group of artists known as the Impressionists.

From 1862 Cézanne moved continually between Aix and Paris until 1870, when he settled in L'Estaque, a village on the coast near Marseille. In his early art, the technique he used included thick and lively strokes of the palette knife, from which he created thickly textured and violently deformed shapes that gave his works a dreamlike quality. Many pieces of this time were later destroyed by the artists himself. These early paintings were influenced in part by other prominent artists such as Courbet, Delacroix and Zurbarán.

Cézanne later tried “recreating nature” by simplifying forms and trying to evoke the basic geometric structure equivalent to whatever subject he chose to work on. Gradually his style evolved, changing the perspectives and viewpoints and often leaving parts of the canvas unpainted, thus breaking with the tradition of completely finishing a painting. In his later work, Cézanne used apples, male figures, and landscapes as his subjects.

Cézanne was one of the most important European painters of the late 19th century and his later works, evolving closer and closer to abstraction. It was these works that had a profound influence on modern painters such as Picasso and Matisse. Thus Cézanne is correctly considered a precursor of modern art, and especially of Cubism.

A selection of some of his pieces:

  • "Madame Cézanne"
  • "Ambroise Vollard"
  • "Mont Sainte-Victoire"
  • "The Kitchen Table"
  • "The Card Players"
  • "Bathers"
  • "The Abduction"
  • "The Morder"
  • "Rocks at L’Estaque"
  • "House of the Hanged Man"