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A Brief On Paul Czanne

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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