b. 1839, Aix-en-Provence, France; d. 1906, Aix-en-Provence
Paul Cézanne was born on January 19, 1839, in Aix-en-Provence, France. While in school, he enrolled in the free-drawing academy in Aix, which he attended intermittently for several years. In 1858 he graduated from the Collège Bourbon, where he had become an intimate friend of fellow student Emile Zola. Cézanne entered the law school of the University of Aix in 1859 to placate his father but abandoned his studies to join Zola in Paris in 1861. For the next twenty years Cézanne divided his time between the Midi and Paris. While in the capital, he briefly attended the Atelier Suisse with Camille Pissarro, whose art later came to influence his own. In 1862 Cézanne began long friendships with Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. His paintings were included in the 1863 Salon des Refusés, which displayed works not accepted by the jury of the official Paris Salon. The Salon itself rejected Cézanne’s submissions each year from 1864 to 1869.
Following the declaration of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Cézanne left Paris for Aix-en-Provence and then nearby L’Estaque, where he continued to paint. He made the first of several visits to Pontoise in 1872; there, he worked alongside Pissarro. He participated in the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874. From 1876 to 1879 his works were again rejected by the Salon. Cézanne showed again with the Impressionists in 1877 in their third exhibition. At that time, Georges Rivière was one of the few critics to support his art. In 1882 the Salon accepted his work for the first and only time. Beginning in 1883 Cézanne resided in the South of France, returning to Paris occasionally.
In 1890 Cézanne exhibited with the group Les Vingt in Brussels and spent five months in Switzerland. He traveled to Giverny in 1894 to visit Monet, who introduced him to Auguste Rodin and the critic Gustave Geffroy. Cézanne’s first solo show was held at Ambroise Vollard’s gallery in Paris in 1895. From then on he received increasing recognition, and in 1899 he participated in the Salon des Indépendants in Paris for the first time. The following year he took part in the Centennial Exhibition in Paris. In 1903 the Berlin and Vienna Secessions included Cézanne’s work, and in 1904 he exhibited at the Salon d’Automne, Paris. That same year he was given a solo exhibition at the Galerie Cassirer, Berlin. Cézanne died on October 22, 1906, in Aix-en-Provence.