Paul Cezanne


     Paul Cézanne
was born in Aix-en-Provence, a small town south of France. As a young boy, Cézanne’s
passions lay in his poetry and his friends, including Emile Zola (Preble 402). Cézanne
is included in the time of the Post-Impressionists. Cézanne wanted "to make

Impressionism into something solid and enduring like the art of museums" (Preble

401). Cézanne did not have a typical, (as I define as friendly), relationship
with his father. Cézanne had some problems with his father. Cézanne’s father
wanted for Cézanne to be a lawyer. His father had sent him to a college for
lawyers but Cézanne was coaxed otherwise by his friend Zola her moved to Paris
(Preble 402). Cézanne’s father had bought the Jas de Bouffan, which would be
the place that Cézanne did many of his works (Rewald 21). The Jas de Bouffan
would be their residence for over a half a century. In one of Cézanne’s
paintings of their residence he omits people and animals that, like in most of
his paintings, would disrupt the unchanging features of the scene (Murphy 150).

Cézanne’s father was always in a struggle with his son. His father was one
that could not comprehend anyone being able to be successful in anything that
did not make him or her rich. One thing that his father had to be able to
recognize was that his son had determination, but his father was utterly blind
in seeing his son’s talent (Rewald 35). When Cézanne’s father died, Cézanne
spoke of him as a genius for leaving him an income of 25,000 francs (Murphy

123). Cézanne married his 12-year affair Hortense Fiquet. A few months after
their marriage, Cézanne’s father died. Hortense was not welcome at the Jas de

Bouffan by Cézanne’s mother and sister. People say that his mother and sister
banned her from the house and they were in a rage of giving her too much money
(Murphy 117). Cézanne’s sister, Marie, was the one that encouraged the
marriage, even though she disliked Hortense, in hope that in would lift the
spirits of her brother. Hortense and Cézanne did not along very well (Rewald

125). Even after their marriage, Cézanne had no thought about living the Jas or
his other and sister. Cézanne thought that 16,000 francs, which were her share,
was all that she needed (Rewald 125). Emile Zola was Paul’s best friend. Cézanne
and Zola were attracted by their shared interest in literary movements and
artists. Zola and Cézanne played an important role in each other’s life with

Zola helping start Cézanne’s art career and Cézanne helping Zola to start
thinking about pictorial art (Murphy 14). Cézanne at one point thought he could
write and some of his works are found in his letters to Zola: Dark, thick
unwelcome mist covers me up; The sun withdraws its last handful of diamonds
(Murphy 14). Zola was a very important person on telling the history of Cézanne.

However, their friendship had its rocky times and its breakup by Zola. Zola can
recall the complete disorder of Cézanne’s studio (Rewald 62). Zola tells us
how Cézanne rarely swept the interior of his studio for fear that the dust
would disrupt his works. Cézanne based his work on the observation of nature
and used separate strokes that were visible to make rich surfaces (Preble 400).

Cézanne tried counting on the connection between adjacent strokes of color to
show the entirety of the form and the space decreasing. In Cézanne’s The

Saint Victoire from Bellevue we can see how Cézanne uses this technique to show
space and depth from a flat plane. Cézanne likes to make alterations on nature
and enlarge the mountain; Cézanne also makes spatiality more clear and distinct
than the actual photographs of the motifs (Loran 125). Cézanne seemed to be
obsessed by this mountain and somewhat exaggerated the size of it in every one
of his paintings (Murphy 154). In another view of this, entitled Mont Saint-Victoire,

Cézanne uses the tree to show height by extending it the entire length of the
canvas. Cézanne utilizes color contrasts to show depth playing with cool and
warm color shifts (Schapiro 66). Cézanne painted this scene at least 60 times
from every possible angle. Cézanne had a very distinct style of painting. To
move out of the style of the broken-color of the Impressionists, Cézanne
created the system of modulating the colors from a volume of cool to warm or
light to dark. He made a series of steps (Loran 25). As the colors begin to
overlap they are creating a three-dimensional image. Cézanne very seldom ever
made a line around his paintings (Loran 26). Cézanne would make the lines
virtually disappear off the edge thus creating more volume. This would make Cézanne’s
paintings pass to the negative or the background (Loran 26). This technique can
be seen in Cézanne’s Still Life with Apples, a Bottle, and a Milk Pot (Rewald

253). In this painting we are able to see the way Cézanne literally escapes the
use of encompassing lines. Cézanne loses the edges in this painting producing
an image of it pass into the background. Let us return to the color modulation
that Cézanne created. Color balance was one final aim for Cézanne. Cézanne’s
light sources are moderately consistent and his shadows are a very important
element to his color (Loran 28). Cézanne was known to work on several canvases
at one time changing from one to the other depending on the time of day or the
location of the sun. One of his paintings that express this color balance is

Chestnut Trees and Farmhouse at the Jas de Bouffan (Rewald 150). In this
painting Cézanne is also building on the volumes, which leads us to the next
perspective on his work. Cézanne used "lines" to create planes, but he used
planes to create volume. If every artist can agree on one thing, it is that Cézanne
achieved volume (Loran 27). In Cézanne’s The Quarry Called Bibemus, the
volume is accentuated. Cézanne relies on warm-to-cold contrasts and overlapping
forms to give the volume instead of linear and aerial perspective (Murphy 81).

The color contrast between the bright green tree and the orange rock make the
space perfectly clear without the use of lines (Loran 71). Cézanne had problems
with perspective. In his Road to Gardanne, Cézanne drastically changes the
scene in order to organize space. Cézanne compresses the size of the foreground
and makes the road with a sharper turn. Cézanne also reduces the size of the
trees immensely, but increases the size of the bridge immensely (Loran 48). This
same technique is also used in Mardi Gras and Harlequin. This is one of his
monumental works in which he struggles with his space organization. His son,

Paul, posed for the paintings as Harlequin (Murphy 108). In this photo Cézanne
shows his struggle of space by adding sections to the plane. We can see a
crinkle in the canvas area of the ankle and toe of Harlequin. Cézanne also
caused distortions in his paintings that were merely accidental. Due to the fact
that Cézanne would still be scheming his paintings distortion was often made
(Loran 29). We can see this in his artwork entitled Women Bathers (Schapiro

117). We can see in this painting how the head of one of the women is distorted
and somewhat absent from the painting. His distortion was sometimes just
considered a lack of dexterity and manual skill, which he later mastered. It is
said that because Cézanne had not reduced himself to simple abstract shapes
there were distortions. He was still trying to capture the realistic look by
smudging and smearing (Loran 95). The painting’s distortion can also be
explained by the fact that he did all canvases at one time which did not allow
him much accuracy on the human figure. Much distortion can be seen in the
painting of another Bathers (Rewald 87). In this painting, the bathers can not
even be distinguished without reading the name. In Cézanne’s L’Estaque, Cézanne
is showing how he unifies the foreground and background of some of his paintings
(Schapiro 63). Unlike the original picture of this scene where the foreground
and background are clearly separate, Cézanne’s paintings unify hem into one,
so that they merge to look continuous with one another. Cézanne is losing the
aerial perspective that is held highly among the Impressionists (Loran 106).

Works Cited 1Loran, Erle. Cézanne’s Composition: Analysis of His Form with

Diagrams and Photographs of his Motifs. University of California Press, 1970.

2Murphy, Richard W. The World of Cézanne : 1839-1906. Time-Life Books, Inc.,

1968. 3Preble, Duane, Preble, Sarah, and Frank, Patrick, Artforms: An

Introduction to the Visual Arts. "Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries".

Addison Wesley Longman, 1999. 4Rewald, John. Cézanne: A Biography. Harry N.

Abrams, Inc., 1986. 5Schapiro, Meyer. Paul Cézanne. Harry N. Abrams, Inc.,

1952.

Bibliography

1Loran, Erle. Cézanne’s Composition: Analysis of His Form with Diagrams
and Photographs of his Motifs. University of California Press, 1970. 2Murphy,

Richard W. The World of Cézanne : 1839-1906. Time-Life Books, Inc., 1968.

3Preble, Duane, Preble, Sarah, and Frank, Patrick, Artforms: An Introduction to
the Visual Arts. "Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries". Addison Wesley

Longman, 1999. 4Rewald, John. Cézanne: A Biography. Harry N. Abrams, Inc.,

1986. 5Schapiro, Meyer. Paul Cézanne. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1952.