Paul Cezanne

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Paul Cézanne, photo portrait, around 1861
Signature of Paul Cézanne
Self-Portrait , 1883–1887, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek , Copenhagen

Paul Cézanne (born January 19, 1839 in Aix-en-Provence , † October 22, 1906 there ) was a French painter. Cézanne's work is assigned to different styles : While his early works are still characterized by romanticism - such as the murals in the Jas de Bouffan country house - and realism , through intensive examination of impressionist forms of expression he came to a new visual language that consolidates the flowing visual impression of impressionist works tries. He gave up the illusionistic long-distance effect, broke the rules established by the representatives of academic art and strived for a renewal of traditional design methods based on the impressionistic color space and color modulatory principles.

His painting aroused incomprehension and ridicule in contemporary art criticism. Until the late 1890s, it was mainly artist colleagues such as Pissarro , Monet and Renoir as well as art collectors and the gallery owner Ambroise Vollard who discovered Cézanne's work and who were among the first buyers of his paintings. Vollard opened the first solo exhibition in his Paris gallery in 1895, which led to a broader examination of the artist's work.

From the large number of artists who orientated themselves to his work after Cézanne's death, Pablo Picasso , Henri Matisse , Georges Braque and André Derain should be mentioned in particular . The contrasting orientation of the painterly works of the artists mentioned reveals the complexity of Cézanne's work. From an art historical point of view, Cézanne's works are among the pioneers of classical modernism .

Cézanne's subjects were often bathers, the landscape around the Montagne Sainte-Victoire , still lifes and portraits of his model, his lover and later wife, Hortense Fiquet .


childhood and education

Paul Cézanne was born as the son of the hat dealer and later banker Louis-Auguste Cézanne and Anne-Elisabeth-Honorine Aubert at 28 Rue de l'Opera in Aix-en-Provence. His parents only married after the birth of Paul and his sister Marie (* 1841) on January 29, 1844. His youngest sister Rose was born in June 1854. In the years from 1844 to 1849 he attended elementary school; it followed the training at the École de Saint-Joseph. Classmates were the later sculptor Philippe Solari and Henri Gasquet, father of the writer Joachim Gasquet , who was to publish his book Cézanne in 1921 .

Jas de Bouffan , around 1878, private property

From 1852 Cézanne attended the Collège Bourbon (today Lycée Mignet), where he made friends with the later novelist Émile Zola and the later engineer Jean-Baptist Baille . They were referred to as the "lovebirds" at the College. It was probably the most carefree time of his life when the friends swam and fished on the banks of the Arc . They debated art, read Homer and Virgil and practiced writing their own poems. Cézanne often wrote his verses in Latin. Zola urged him to be more serious about poetry, but Cézanne saw it as just a pastime. On November 12, 1858, Cézanne passed the Baccalauréat exam .

Summer , 1860, Petit Palais , Paris

At the request of the authoritarian father, who traditionally saw in his son the heir of his bank Cézanne & Cabassol, founded in 1848, which had brought him the rise from trader to successful banker, Paul Cézanne enrolled in 1859 at the law faculty of the University of Aix-en- Provence and took lectures for the study of law . He spent two years studying unpopular, but increasingly neglected it and preferred to devote himself to drawing exercises and poetry. From 1859 on, Cézanne took evening classes at the city's free urban drawing school , which was housed in the Aix art museum, the Musée Granet . His teacher was the academic painter Joseph Gibert (1806-1884). In August 1859 he won the second prize in the figure studies course there.

His father bought the Jas de Bouffan (House of Wind) estate that same year. This partly dilapidated baroque residence of the former provincial governor later became the home and workplace of the painter for a long time. The building and the old trees in the park of the property were among the artist's favorite subjects. In 1860, Cézanne was given permission to paint the walls of the drawing room; the large-format murals of the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter (today in the Petit Palais in Paris) were created, which Cézanne ironically signed with Ingres , whose works he did not appreciate. The winter picture also contains the date 1811, which alludes to Ingres' painting Jupiter and Thetis , which was painted at that time and is exhibited in the Musée Granet. Presumably, the pictures summer and winter were created first , which still show a certain awkwardness in handling the painting technique. Spring and autumn seem better worked out. What the sequence of seasons has in common is a romanticizing charisma that is later no longer to be found in Cézanne's works.

Studied in Paris

Achille Emperaire (portrait), around 1868, Musée d'Orsay , Paris

Zola, who had moved to Paris with his mother in February 1858 , urged Cézanne in correspondence to give up his hesitant attitude and to follow him there. On condition that he should begin a proper degree, Louis-Auguste Cézanne finally gave in to his son's wish, since he had given up hope of finding a successor for the banking business in Paul.

Cézanne moved to Paris in April 1861. The high hopes he had set in Paris were not fulfilled because he had applied to the École des Beaux-Arts , but was rejected there. He attended the free Académie Suisse , where he could devote himself to life drawing. There he met Camille Pissarro, ten years his senior, and Achille Emperaire from his hometown of Aix. He often copied works by old masters such as Michelangelo , Rubens and Titian in the Louvre . But the city was alien to him and he soon thought of returning to Aix-en-Provence.

Zola's belief in Cézanne's future was shaken, so he wrote to their childhood friend Baille as early as June: “Paul is still the excellent and strange guy I knew him at school. To prove that it has lost none of its originality, I only need to tell you that, as soon as he arrived here, he spoke of returning. ”Cézanne painted a portrait of Zola that Zola had asked him to give his friend courage close; but Cézanne was not satisfied with the result and destroyed the picture. In September 1861 Cézanne returned to Aix-en-Provence, disappointed by the rejection at the École, and worked again in his father's bank.

Landscape with a Fountain , 1865–67, Bénatov Collection, Paris

But in the late autumn of 1862 he moved to Paris again. His father secured his subsistence level with a monthly bill of over 150 francs . The traditional École des Beaux-Arts rejected him again. He therefore attended the Académie Suisse again, which promoted realism . During this time he got to know many young artists, after Pissarro also Claude Monet , Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley .

In contrast to the official artistic life of France, Cézanne was influenced by Gustave Courbet and Eugène Delacroix , who strove for a renewal of art and demanded the representation of unadorned reality. Courbet's followers called themselves “realists” and followed his principle Il faut encanailler l'art (“You have to throw art into the gutter”), which was formulated as early as 1849 , which means that art must be brought down from its ideal height and become an everyday matter be made. The final break with historical painting was made by Édouard Manet , who was not concerned with analytical observation, but with the reproduction of his subjective perception and the liberation of the subject from symbolic affronts.

The exclusion of the works of Manet, Pissarro and Monet from the official salon, the Salon de Paris , in 1863 caused such an outrage among artists that Napoleon III. had a “ Salon des Refusés ” (Salon of the Rejected) set up alongside the official salon . Cézanne's works were also exhibited there, because, as in the following years, he was not admitted to the official salon, which continued to demand the classic painting style according to Ingres. This point of view corresponded to the taste of the bourgeois public, who rejected the exhibition in the “Salon des Refusés”.

In the summer of 1865 Cézanne returned to Aix. Zola's first novel La Confession de Claude has been published. It is dedicated to the childhood friends Cézanne and Baille. In the autumn of 1866, Cézanne executed a whole series of pictures using the spatula technique , mainly still lifes and portraits. He spent most of 1867 in Paris and the second half of 1868 in Aix. At the beginning of 1869 he returned to Paris and met the bookbinder's assistant Hortense Fiquet , who was eleven years his junior at the Académie Suisse , who worked as a painter's model in order to earn a little extra income.

L'Estaque - Auvers-sur-Oise - Pontoise 1870–1874

Photo Paul Cézannes on the way to the motif near Auvers, around 1874
Melting snow in L'Estaque , around 1870, private collection
View of Auvers , around 1874, Art Institute , Chicago

On May 31, 1870, Cézanne was the best man at Zola's wedding in Paris. During the Franco-Prussian War, Cézanne and Hortense Fiquet lived in the fishing village of L'Estaque near Marseille , which Cézanne would later visit and paint often, as he was fascinated by the Mediterranean atmosphere of the place. He had withdrawn from being called up for military service. Although Cézanne had been denounced as a deserter in January 1871 , he managed to hide. Further details are not known as documents from this period are missing.

After the defeat of the Paris Commune , the couple returned to Paris in May 1871. Paul fils , the son of Paul Cézanne and Hortense Fiquet, was born on January 4, 1872. Cézanne hid his unsuitable family from his father in order not to lose the financial donations that he gave him to live as an artist.

When Cézanne's friend, the crippled painter Achille Emperaire , sought refuge with his family in Paris in 1872 due to financial need, he soon left the quarter in the Rue Jussieu: “[...] it was necessary, otherwise I would not be him The fate of the others escaped. I found him here abandoned by everyone. […] There is no longer any talk of Zola, Solari and all the others. He's the strangest guy you can imagine. "

From the end of 1872 to 1874, Cézanne lived with his wife and child in Auvers-sur-Oise , where he met the doctor and art lover Paul Gachet , who later became the painter Vincent van Gogh's doctor . Gachet was also an ambitious hobby painter and made his studio available to Cézanne.

In 1872, Cézanne accepted an invitation from his friend Pissarro to work with him in Pontoise in the Oise Valley . As a sensitive artist, Pissarro became a mentor for the shy and irritable Cézanne; he was able to move him to turn away from the dark colors on his color palette and gave him the advice: "Always paint with only the three basic colors (red, yellow, blue) and their immediate deviations." In addition, he should refrain from linear contouring The shape of things results from the gradation of the color tone values. Cézanne felt that the Impressionist technique brought him closer to his goal and followed his friend's advice. They often painted together in front of the subject. Later Pissarro reported: "We were together all the time, but still each of us kept what counts: our own feelings."

A clear example can be seen in the paintings on the left: The later work Blick auf Auvers shows, in contrast to the dark colors and the strong contours of the snowmelt, the technique learned by Pissarro, combined with Cézanne's close observation of the landscape.

First impressionist group exhibitions from 1874

Photo portrait of Camille Pissarro from later years
Portrait of Victor Choquet , 1876/77, private collection

The young painters in Paris saw no promotion of their works in the Salon de Paris and therefore took up Claude Monet's plan for their own exhibition, which had been drawn up in 1867. From April 15 to May 15, 1874, the first group exhibition of the Société anonyme des artistes, peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs , the later so-called Impressionists, took place . This name goes back to the title of the painting Impression soleil levant by Monet on display . In the satirical magazine Le Charivari, the critic Louis Leroy described the group as "impressionists" and thus created the term for this new art direction. The exhibition location was the studio of the photographer Nadar on the Boulevard des Capucines.

Pissarro pushed through Cézanne's participation against the concerns of some members who feared that Cézanne's bold pictures could harm the exhibition. In addition to Cézanne, Renoir, Monet, Alfred Sisley , Berthe Morisot , Edgar Degas and Pissarro exhibited. Manet declined to participate, for him Cézanne was “a bricklayer who paints with a trowel”. Cézanne in particular caused a sensation, indignation and derisive laughter from the critics with his paintings such as the Landscape near Auvers and the Modern Olympia . In A Modern Olympia , created as a quote from Manet's 1863, often vilified painting Olympia , Cézanne looked for an even more drastic representation and showed, in addition to prostitutes and servants, the suitor, in whose figure Cézanne is personally suspected.

The exhibition turned out to be a financial failure; the final account showed a deficit of over 180 francs for each of the participating artists. Cézanne's work The House of the Hanged Man was one of the pictures that could be sold despite the slippage. The collector Count Doria bought it for 300 francs.

In 1875 Cézanne met the customs inspector and art collector Victor Chocquet , who, through Renoir, bought three of his works and became his most loyal collector. Cézanne did not take part in the group's second exhibition, but instead presented 16 of his works in the third exhibition in 1877, which in turn attracted considerable criticism. It was the last time that he exhibited together with the Impressionists. Another sponsor was the paint dealer Julien "Père" Tanguy , who supported the young painters by supplying them with paints and canvas and receiving paintings for them.

In March 1878, Cézanne's father learned of the long-hidden relationship with Hortense and their illegitimate son Paul through a thoughtless letter from Victor Chocquet. He then cut the monthly bill in half, and a financially tense period began for Cézanne in which he had to ask Zola for help.

In 1881 Cézanne worked in Pontoise with Paul Gauguin and Pissarro; Cézanne returned to Aix at the end of the year. He later accused Gauguin of stealing his “little sensation” from him and that he, on the other hand, only painted chinoiseries . In 1882, a friend of Cézanne's Antoine Guillemet became a member of the salon's jury. Since each jury member had the privilege of showing a picture of one of his students, he passed Cézanne off as his student and achieved his first participation in the salon. The work, it was a portrait of his father from the 1960s, was hung in a poorly lit place in a remote room in the top row and received no attention.

In the spring of 1882, Cézanne worked with Renoir in Aix and - for the first time - in L'Estaque , a small fishing town near Marseille , which he also visited in 1883 and 1888. One of the first two stays was The Bay of Marseille, as seen from L'Estaque . In the fall of 1885 and in the following months, Cézanne stayed in Gardanne , a small hilltop town near Aix-en-Provence, where he created several paintings whose faceted shapes already anticipated the style of Cubism .

Break with Zola, marriage in 1886

Photo portrait of Zola from 1870
Hortense Cézanne in a red dress, around 1890, Museu de Arte , São Paulo

The long friendship with Émile Zola had become more distant. The urbane, successful writer had set up a luxurious summer house in Médan near Auvers in 1878, where Cézanne had visited him repeatedly between 1879 and 1882 and 1885; but the lavish lifestyle of his friend, who led an undemanding life, had shown his own inadequacy and made him doubt himself.

In March 1886, Zola, who had meanwhile regarded his childhood friend as a failed man, published his key novel L'Œuvre from the Rougon-Macquart cycle , the protagonist of which, the painter Claude Lantier, failed to achieve his goals and committed suicide. In order to further increase the parallels between fiction and biography, Zola placed the successful writer Sandoz at the side of the painter Lantier in his work. Monet and Edmond de Goncourt saw Edouard Manet in the painter's character , but Cézanne found himself reflected in many details as a person. He thanked you formally for sending the work supposedly related to him. The contact between the two childhood friends broke off forever.

On April 28, 1886, Paul Cézanne and Hortense Fiquet married in Aix in the presence of his parents. The connection to Hortense was not legalized out of love, as their relationship had been broken for a long time. Cézanne was afraid of women and was terrified of being touched, a trauma that came from his childhood when, according to his own words, a classmate kicked him from behind on the stairs from behind. Rather, the marriage was intended to secure the rights of the son Paul, now fourteen, whom Cézanne loved very much, as a legitimate son.

Despite the strained relationship, Hortense was the person Cézanne most often portrayed. From the beginning of the seventies to the early nineties, 26 paintings by Hortense are known. She endured the exhausting sessions motionless and patiently. The picture shown was taken around 1890 in the apartment on Île Saint-Louis in Paris at Quai d'Anjou 15.

In October 1886, after the death of their father, Cézanne, his mother and sisters inherited his estate, which also included the Jas de Bouffan estate, so that Cézanne's financial situation became much more relaxed. "My father was a brilliant man," he said, looking back, "he left me an income of 25,000 francs."

Exhibition at Les Vingt in 1890

The Jas de Bouffan Estate , 1885–87, National Gallery in Prague

Cézanne lived in Paris and increasingly in Aix without his family. Renoir visited him there in January 1888, and they worked together in the Jas de Bouffan's studio. In 1890, Cézanne fell ill with diabetes ; the illness made it even more difficult to deal with other people.

Hoping that the disturbed relationship with Hortense could stabilize, Cézanne spent a few months with her and his son Paul in Switzerland. The attempt failed, so he returned to Provence, Hortense and Paul to Paris.

In the same year he exhibited three of his works at the Les Vingt group in Brussels . The Les XX , shortly Les XX or Les Vingt , German The XX or the Twenty was a 1883 founded association of Belgian or resident in Belgium artists including Fernand Khnopff , Théo van Rysselberghe , James Ensor and the siblings Anna and Eugène Boch .

Cézanne's first solo exhibition in Paris in 1895

In May 1895 he and Pissarro visited Monet's exhibition in the Durand-Ruel gallery . He was enthusiastic, but later tellingly named 1868 as Monet's strongest period, when the latter was even more under the influence of Courbet. With his fellow student from the Académie Suisse, Achille Emperaire, Cézanne went to the area around the town of Le Tholonet , where he lived in the “Château Noir” on the Sainte-Victoire mountains . He often took the mountains as a theme in his paintings. He rented a hut at the nearby Bibémus quarry; Bibémus became another motif for his paintings.

Ambroise Vollard , an aspiring gallery owner, opened Cézanne's first solo exhibition in November 1895. In his gallery he showed a selection of 50 out of around 150 works that Cézanne had sent him as a package. It was through the exhibition of a Manet bundle in his small shop in 1894 that Vollard met Degas and Renoir, who exchanged Manet works for their own. Vollard also established relationships with Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard , and when the well-known paint dealer Père Tanguy died that same year , Vollard was able to buy works from three unknown persons at a very affordable price from his estate: Cézanne, Gauguin and van Gogh. The first buyer of a Cézanne painting was Monet, followed by colleagues such as Degas, Renoir, Pissarro and later on as an art collector. The prices for works by Cézanne rose a hundredfold, and Vollard benefited as always from his stocks.

In 1897 a Cézanne painting was purchased by a museum for the first time. Hugo von Tschudi acquired Cézanne's landscape painting Die Mühle an der Couleuvre near Pontoise in the Durand-Ruel gallery for the Berlin National Gallery .

Cézanne's mother died on October 25, 1897. In November 1899, at the insistence of his sister, he sold the now practically orphaned property "Jas de Bouffan" and moved into a small city apartment at 23, Rue Boulegon in Aix-en-Provence; the planned purchase of the "Château Noir" property could not be realized. He hired a housekeeper, Mme Bremond, to look after him until his death.

Homage to Cézanne

Still Life with a Fruit Bowl , 1879–80, Museum of Modern Art , New York.
Maurice Denis: Hommage à Cézanne , 1900, Musée d'Orsay, Paris

The art market continued to respond positively to Cézanne's works; In June 1899, Pissarro wrote from Paris about the auction of the Chocquets collection from his estate: “This includes thirty-two Cézanne's of the first order [...]. The Cézannes will bring very high prices and are already set at four to five thousand francs. ”In this auction, market-driven prices for paintings by Cézanne were achieved for the first time, but they were“ far below those for paintings by Manet, Monet or Renoir. ”

In 1901 Maurice Denis exhibited his large painting Hommage à Cézanne from 1900 in Paris and Brussels. The subject of the picture is Ambroise Vollard's gallery, in which a picture - Cézanne's painting Still Life with a Fruit Bowl - is presented, which was formerly owned by Paul Gauguin . The writer André Gide acquired Hommage à Cézanne and gave it to the Musée du Luxembourg in 1928 . It is currently in the holdings of the Musée d'Orsay , Paris. About the people portrayed: Odilon Redon is in the foreground on the left, listening to Paul Sérusier , who is opposite him. From left to right, Edouard Vuillard , the critic André Mellerio with top hat, Vollard behind the easel, Maurice Denis, Paul Ranson , Ker-Xavier Roussel , Pierre Bonnard with a pipe, and on the far right Marthe Denis, the painter's wife, are shown.

The last few years

In 1901, Cézanne acquired a plot of land north of the city of Aix-en-Provence, where he had the atelier built on Chemin des Lauves in 1902, according to his needs . For large-format paintings such as The Great Bathers , which were created in the Les Lauves studio, he had a long, narrow gap in the wall built through which natural light could flow. That year Zola died, which, despite the alienation, left Cézanne in mourning.

Paul Cézanne in his Les Lauves studio, 1904. Photo by Émile Bernard

His health deteriorated with age; In addition to his diabetes, there was depression of old age, which manifested itself in growing mistrust of his fellow human beings up to paranoia. However, the citizens of Aix and parts of the press did not make it easy for him. Despite the increasing recognition of the artist, hateful press releases appeared and he received numerous threatening letters. “I don't understand the world and the world doesn't understand me, that's why I withdrew from the world,” said the old Cézanne to his coachman.

Three skulls on a carpet , around 1904, private collection

When Cézanne deposited his will with a notary in September 1902, he excluded his wife Hortense from the inheritance and declared his son Paul the sole heir.

In 1903 he exhibited for the first time in the newly founded Salon d'Automne (Paris Autumn Salon). The painter and art theorist Émile Bernard first visited him in February 1904 for a month and published an article about the painter in the magazine L'Occident in July . Back then, Cézanne was working on a vanitas still life with three skulls on an oriental carpet. Bernard reported that during his stay, this painting changed color and shape every day, although it appeared complete from day one. He later viewed this work as Cézanne's legacy and summed up: “Truly, his way of working was thinking with a brush in hand.” In the memento-mori still lifes , which he created several times, Cézanne's increasing age depression was evident, which has been in his letters since 1896 with remarks like "life begins to be of a deadly monotony for me". There was an exchange of letters with Bernard until Cézanne's death; he published his memoirs Souvenirs sur Paul Cézanne for the first time in 1907 in the Mercure de France , and in 1912 they appeared in book form.

Salle Cézanne 1904 in the Salon d'Automne, photograph by Ambroise Vollard , (paintings by Victor Choquet , Baigneuses etc.)

From October 15 to November 15, 1904, an entire room in the Salon d'Automne was furnished with the works of Cézanne. In 1905 there was an exhibition in London in which his work was also shown; the gallery Vollard exhibited his works in June, and the Salon d'Automne again followed from October 19 to November 25 with 10 paintings.

Portrait of the gardener Vallier , 1906, Museum Berggruen , Berlin. Cézanne worked on this painting shortly before his death.

The art historian and patron Karl Ernst Osthaus , who founded the Folkwang Museum in 1902 , visited Cézanne on April 13, 1906, in the hope of being able to acquire a painting by the artist. His wife Gertrud probably took the last photograph of Cézanne. Osthaus described his visit in his book A Visit to Cézanne , published in the same year .

Despite the late successes, Cézanne was only able to get closer to his goals. On September 5, 1906, he wrote to his son Paul: “Finally I want to tell you that as a painter I become more clairvoyant in the face of nature, but that realizing my feelings is always very difficult for me. I cannot achieve the intensity that develops in front of my senses, I do not have that wonderful wealth of colors that enlivens nature. "

On October 15, Cézanne was caught in a storm while painting in front of the subject; he lost consciousness, was picked up by the coachmen of a laundry cart and taken home. Because of the hypothermia, he developed severe pneumonia. The next day, Cézanne went into the garden to work on his last painting, the portrait of the gardener Vallier , and wrote an angry letter to his paint dealer complaining about the delay in the delivery of paint. However, his health deteriorated noticeably. His wife Hortense and son Paul were telegraphed from the housekeeper, but they were late. Cézanne died on October 22, 1906 in Aix-en-Provence.

Cézanne's work


Paris 1861-1871

Cézanne's early "dark" period was influenced by the works of French Romanticism and the beginning of Realism ; Eugène Delacroix and Gustave Courbet were role models . His paintings are characterized by a thick application of paint, high-contrast, dark tones with pronounced shadows, the use of pure black and other colors mixed with black, brown, gray and Prussian blue; occasionally, a few white polka dots or green and red brushstrokes are added to lighten the monochrome monotony. The subjects of his pictures from this period are portraits of family members or demonic-erotic content that echoes his own traumatic experiences. Examples are The Abduction and The Murder .

Paris / Provence 1872–1882

In his second - the Impressionist - period he orientated himself on the works of Camille Pissarro and Édouard Manet , gave up his dark painting style and now used a color palette based purely on the basic tones of yellow, red and blue. As a result, he broke away from his technique of heavy, often overloaded-looking paint application and adopted the loose painting technique of his role models, which consisted of juxtaposed brushstrokes. Portraits and figurative compositions receded in these years. As a result, Cézanne created landscape paintings in which the illusionistic depth of space was increasingly canceled out. The “objects” continue to be understood as volumes and traced back to their basic geometric shapes. This design method is transferred to the entire picture surface. The painterly gesture now treats the "distance" in a similar way to the "objects" themselves, so that the impression of a long-distance effect arises. In this way, Cézanne left traditional pictorial space on the one hand, but on the other hand worked against the flowing impression of impressionist pictorial works. Among other things, paintings with motifs from Jas de Bouffan and L'Estaque were created.

Provence 1883–1895

The "period of synthesis" followed, in which Cézanne completely broke away from the Impressionist style of painting. He solidified the forms by applying two-dimensional diagonal paint, removed the perspective representation to create the depth of the image and focused his attention on the balance of the composition. During this period he increasingly created landscapes and figures. In a letter to his friend Joachim Gasquet he wrote: “The colored surfaces, always the surfaces! The colored place where the soul of the surfaces trembles, the prismatic warmth, the meeting of the surfaces in the sunlight. I design my surfaces with my color gradations on the palette, understand me! [...] The surfaces must be clearly visible. Clearly […] but they have to be distributed correctly, merge into one another. Everything has to work together and yet again create contrasts. The volume alone matters! "

The Boy in the Red Vest , 1888–1890, EG Bührle Collection Foundation, Zurich. From February 2008 to April 2012, the painting was lost due to an art theft.

The still lifes , which Cézanne painted as early as the late 1880s, are another focus of his work. He renounced the linear perspective rendering of the motifs and instead presented them in the dimensions that made sense for him in terms of composition; For example, a pear can be oversized in order to achieve inner balance and an exciting composition. He set up his arrangements in the studio. In addition to the fruit, there are jugs, pots and plates, occasionally a putto , often surrounded by a white, bulging tablecloth that gives the subject a baroque fullness. It is not the objects that should attract attention, but the arrangement of shapes and colors on the surface. Cézanne developed the composition from individual dots of color distributed over the canvas, from which the shape and volume of the object gradually build up. Achieving the balance of these patches of color on the canvas requires a slow working method, so that Cézanne often worked on a painting for a long time.

After Cézanne had initially only portrayed family members or friends, his better financial position allowed him to hire a professional model, a young Italian named Michelangelo di Rosa , for the portrait The Boy in the Red Vest , created from 1888–1890 and one of his most famous paintings . He was depicted in a total of four paintings and two watercolors.

Another famous picture from this period is Le fumeur accoudé ( The Smoker ) from 1890. Fritz Wichert acquired the picture from Paul Cassirer in Berlin in 1912, against the determined resistance of the then municipal purchasing commission for the "Franzosensaal" he created. the Kunsthalle Mannheim . In 1890 and 1895, Cézanne painted five versions of the picture The Card Players ( Les Joueurs de cartes ), in which the same person is shown in different variations.

For The Card Players , farmers and day laborers who worked in the fields at Jas de Bouffan were his models. They are not genre pictures , even if they show scenes from everyday life; the motif is built up according to strict laws of color and form.

Provence 1896-1906

Many works of the late work, the so-called "lyrical period", such as the cycle of bathers , are determined by a turn to freely invented figures in the landscape ; Cézanne created around 140 paintings and sketches on the theme of the bathing scenes. Here his admiration for classical painting can be found again, which tries to unite man and nature in harmony in Arcadian idylls. In the last seven years he created three large-format versions of The Great Bathers ( Les Grandes Baigneuses ), the largest of which is the one on display in Philadelphia, measuring 208 × 249 cm. Cézanne was interested in the composition and the interplay of shapes and colors, of nature and figures. For his paintings during this time he used sketches and photographs as templates, as he did not like the presence of naked models.

Terrain des Paintres

The area around the Montagne Sainte-Victoire was one of the most important themes of the late years. From a vantage point above his studio, later called Terrain des Paintres , he painted several views of the mountain. A precise observation of nature was a prerequisite for Cézanne's painting: “In order to paint a landscape correctly, I must first recognize the geological stratification.” In total, he painted more than 30 oil paintings and 45 watercolors of the mountains, and he was always careful to “constructions and To find harmonies parallel to nature ”.

Cézanne dealt primarily with watercolor painting in his later work , as it had become clear to him that the specific application of his means in this medium could be particularly clearly demonstrated. The later watercolors also had an effect on his oil painting, for example in the study with bathers (1902–1906), in which a representation full of colored “empty spaces” appears to be complete. The painter and art critic Roger Fry also emphasized in his fundamental Cézanne publication Cézanne: A Study of His Development from 1927 that after 1885 the technique of watercolors had a strong effect on his painting with oil paints. The watercolors in Vollard's Cézanne monograph in 1914 and in Julius Meier-Graefe's picture portfolio with ten facsimiles based on the watercolors, edited in 1918, became known to a larger group of interested parties . Only lightly colored pencil studies that occasionally appeared in sketch albums stand next to carefully painted works. Many watercolors are equal to the realizations on the canvas and form an autonomous group of works. Landscape watercolors dominate the theme, followed by figure paintings and still lifes, while portraits, in contrast to paintings and drawings, are rarer.


Study sheet: Sitting female nude, self-portrait and sleeping child , around 1879–1882. Pencil on white paper, Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum , Amsterdam

As for antiquity and the old masters, for Cézanne the basis of painting is drawing , but the prerequisite for all work is subordination to the object, or the eye or pure looking : “The painter's entire will must be silent. He should silence all voices of prejudice. To forget! To forget! Create silence! Be a perfect echo. [...] The landscape is mirrored, humanized, thinks itself in me. [...] I will go with her to the roots of the world. We germinate. A tender excitement seizes me and from the roots of this excitement the sap, the color rises. I was born in the real world. I see! […] In order to paint that, the craft must then be used, but a humble craft that obeys and is ready to subconsciously transmit. "

As a methodologist of color, Cézanne left behind oil paintings and watercolors as well as an extensive work of more than 1200 drawings, which, hidden in the cupboards and portfolios of the studio during his lifetime, only began to interest collectors in the 1930s. They form the working material for his works and show detailed sketches, observational notes and traces of Cézanne's stations on the way to the realization of the picture, some of which are difficult to decipher. Their task, linked to the creation process of the respective work, was to give the overall structure and the object names within the pictorial organism. Even in old age, he made portrait and figure drawings based on the models of ancient sculptures and baroque paintings from the Louvre , which gave him clarity about the isolation of three-dimensional appearances. Therefore, the black and white of the drawings was an essential prerequisite for Cézanne's designs from color.

Paul Cézanne was the first artist to start breaking down objects into simple geometric shapes. In his frequently quoted letter of April 15, 1904, he wrote to the painter and art theorist Émile Bernard , who had met Cézanne in his last years: “You treat nature according to cylinder, sphere and cone and put the whole thing into perspective, like that that every side of an object, a surface, leads to a central point […] ”In the work groups Montagne Sainte-Victoire and the still lifes, Cézanne realized his ideas of painting. In his conception of the picture, even a mountain is understood as a layering of forms, spaces and structures that rise above the ground.

Émile Bernard wrote about Cézanne's unusual way of working: “He started with the shadow parts and with a spot on which he placed a second, larger one, then a third, until all these hues, covering one another, modeled the object with their coloring. It was then that I realized that a law of harmony guided his work and that these modulations had a predetermined direction in his mind. ”For Cézanne, the real secret of painting lies in this predetermined direction in the context of harmony and the illusion of depth. On April 13, 1906, when Cézanne visited the collector Karl Ernst Osthaus in Aix, he emphasized that the main thing in a picture was the meeting of distance. The color must express every leap into depth. This shows the skill of the painter.

All sur le motif , sensation and réalisation

Self-portrait with palette, around 1890, E. G. Bührle Collection Foundation , Zurich

Cézanne preferred to use these terms when describing his painterly process. First there is the “motif”, by which he meant not only the objective concept of the picture, but also the motivation for his tireless work of observing and painting. Aller sur le motif , as he called his going to work, meant entering into a relationship with an external object that moved the artist internally and that had to be implemented artistically.

Sensation ( feeling ) is another key concept in Cézanne's vocabulary. At first he meant visual perception in the sense of "impression", ie an optical sensory stimulus emanating from the object. At the same time, it includes the emotion as a psychological reaction to what is perceived. Cézanne explicitly did not focus on the object to be depicted, but rather on sensation : “To paint according to nature does not mean copying the object, it means realizing one's sensations.” This was the medium that mediated between things and sensations the color, whereby Cézanne left open to what extent it arises from things or is an abstraction of his seeing.

With the third term réalisation , Cézanne referred to the actual painting activity, which he feared to fail until the end. Several things had to be “realized” at the same time: first the motif in its diversity, then the sensations that the motif triggered in it, and finally the painting itself, the realization of which the other “realizations” could bring to light. “Painting” therefore meant letting those opposing movements of picking up and dropping off, “impression” and “expression” merge into one another in a single gesture. “Realization in art” became a key concept in Cézanne's thinking and acting.

Poussin after nature

Mont Sainte-Victoire , 1904, Philadelphia Museum of Art , Philadelphia

"Imagine Poussin completely recovered from nature", Cézanne had said to Joachim Gasquet , "that is the classical music I am striving for." The art historian Ernst Gombrich interprets this quote on the occasion of Cézanne's 100th anniversary of his death in 2006: "He saw his task in painting from nature, that is, to make use of the discoveries of the Impressionists and yet at the same time to regain the inner regularity and necessity that had characterized Poussin's art."


Portrait of Gustave Geffroy , 1895, private property

The sometimes longer dates of the creation in the oeuvre catalogs do not always indicate that the exact date cannot be clarified, even if Cézanne hardly dated his pictures, especially since he worked on some pictures for months if not years until he was satisfied with the result was. The artist himself regarded many of his pictures as unfinished, because painting was an incessant process for him.

Cataloging Cézanne's works turned out to be a difficult task. Lionello Venturi published the first catalog in 1936. Cézanne's works have been cataloged with his name, for example the last painting by the gardener Vallier that was edited by Cézanne is labeled “Venturi 718”. John Rewald continued his work after Venturi's death. Rewald formed a working group in which it was decided to separate the catalog of works created by Venturi; Rewald took over the catalogs for oil paintings and watercolors, the historian Adrien Chappuis dedicated himself to Cézanne's drawings. His catalog The Drawings of Paul Cézanne - A Catalog Raisonné was published by Thames and Hudson in London in 1973. Rewalds Paul Cézanne - The Watercolors: A Catalog Raisonné was published by Thames and Hudson, London with 645 illustrations in 1983.

Lake Annecy , 1896, Courtauld Institute of Art, London (Venturi 762)

The missing dating of the paintings (Rewald only found one) and imprecise formulations of the motif such as paysage or Quelques pommes caused confusion. In his early adaptation of the Venturi , Rewald made a list on which all works were included, the dating of which could be carried out without a stylistic analysis, because Rewald rejected such an analysis as unscientific. He continued his list by following the various whereabouts of Cézanne, which documents could prove. Another scheme of his approach was to trust the memories of the people portrayed, especially if they were Cézanne's contemporaries. Based on his own interviews, he made time assignments. Among the works that could be dated with certainty were Cézanne's portrait of the critic Gustave Geffroy , which the sitter confirmed as being in 1895, and Lake Annecy , which the artist had visited only once, namely in 1896.

Rewald died in 1994 and could not finish his work completely. If there was any doubt, Rewald's tendency was to include rather than exclude. This method was adopted by his closest collaborators, Walter Feilchenfeldt Jr., son of the art dealer Walter Feilchenfeldt , and Jayne Warman, who completed the catalog and provided it with introductions. The catalog was published in 1996 under the title The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalog Raisonne - Review. It includes the 954 works that Rewald wanted to include.


Effect during lifetime

Cézanne's first painting in a German museum

The mill on the Couleuvre near Pontoise , 1881, Nationalgalerie Berlin

In 1897 a Cézanne painting for a museum was first purchased by the Berlin National Gallery under its director Hugo von Tschudi , who wanted to make the French impressionists known in German museums. He acquired Cézanne's landscape painting The Mill on the Couleuvre near Pontoise in the Durand-Ruel gallery . In 1904 and 1906 two more purchases of Cézanne's still lifes followed. Tschudi's interest in the current French art movement was due to the painter Max Liebermann , who accompanied Tschudi on his first business trip to Paris in 1896 to examine the new French art movement. The French museum directors, on the other hand, continued to behave cautiously, with the result that their holdings had to be replenished later through donations and bequests in order to be able to adequately represent their compatriot.

Testimonies from contemporary friends and painters

"Yes, Cézanne, he's the greatest of all of us!"

Paul Alexis' reading hour at Zola , 1869/70, private collection. Alexis was Zola's secretary.

Cézanne's childhood friend, the writer Émile Zola , was skeptical of Cézanne's human and artistic qualities early on and expressed as early as 1861 that “Paul may have the genius of a great painter, but will never have the genius to actually become one. The slightest obstacle drives him to despair. ”In fact, it was Cézanne's self-doubt and refusal to make artistic compromises, as well as his rejection of social concessions that led his contemporaries to regard him as an eccentric.

In the Impressionist circle, however, Cézanne's work was given special recognition; Camille Pissarro , Auguste Renoir , Claude Monet and Edgar Degas spoke enthusiastically about his work, and Pissarro said: "I think it will be centuries before we are accountable."

A portrait of Cézanne was painted by his friend and mentor Pissarro in 1874, and in 1901 the co-founder of the artist group Nabis , Maurice Denis , created Hommage à Cézanne , which shows the artist with his painting Still Life with Fruits on the Easel in the midst of artist friends in the Vollard Gallery . Hommage à Cézanne originally belonged to Paul Gauguin and was later acquired by Denis' French writer and friend André Gide , who owned it until 1928. Today it is on display in the Musée d'Orsay .

Camille Pissarro: Portrait of Paul Cézanne , 1874, National Gallery, London. The painting hung in Cézanne's studio until his death.

Contemporary art criticism

The first joint Impressionist exhibition in Paris in April / May 1874 drew extensive criticism. Audiences and art critics, for whom “the ideal” of the École de Beaux Arts was the proof of the existence of art, burst out laughing. One critic claimed that Monet paints by loading his paints into a rifle and shooting at the canvas. In front of a picture of Cézanne, a colleague performed an Indian dance and shouted: “Hugh! [...] I am the walking impression, the avenging palette knife, the 'Boulevard des Capucines' by Monet, 'The House of the Hanged Man' and 'The Modern Olympia' by Mr Cézanne. Hugh! Hugh! Hugh! "

The French writer Joris-Karl Huysmans responded by letter to Pissarro in 1883 , saying that Cézanne was only briefly mentioned in Huysman's book L'Art Moderne , suggesting that Cézanne's view of the motifs was falsified by astigmatism : “[…] but it is certainly an eye flaw in the game, which I am assured that he is also aware. ”Five years later, his judgment in La Cravache magazine was more positive when he described Cézanne's works as“ strange yet real ”and as“ revelation ” designated.

The art dealer Ambroise Vollard first came into contact in 1892 through the paint dealer Tanguy with works by Cézanne, which the latter had exhibited in his shop on Rue Clauzel on Montmartre in exchange for delivery of painting utensils . Vollard recalled the lack of response that the shop was seldom visited, "as it was not yet fashionable at that time to buy the 'horror works' expensive, not even cheap." Tanguy even led interested parties into the painter's studio, to which he took one Had the key, where small and 100 francs large pictures were available for a fixed price of 40 francs. The Journal des Artistes echoed the general tone of that time by asking concerned whether its sensitive readers would not be sick at the sight of "these oppressive abominations which are beyond the scope of the legal evil".

The art critic Gustave Geffroy was one of the few critics who judged Cézanne's work fairly and unreservedly during his lifetime. As early as March 25, 1894, he wrote in the Journal about the then current relationship between Cézanne's painting and the aspirations of younger artists, that Cézanne had become a kind of forerunner to which the Symbolists invoked, and that there was a direct connection between Cézanne's painting and the Gauguins , Bernards and even Vincent van Goghs . A year later, after the successful exhibition at the Vollard Gallery in 1895, Geffroy again stated in the Journal : “He is a great fanatic of truth, fiery and naive, bitter and nuanced. He will come to the Louvre. ”Between these two chronicles, the portrait of Geffroys painted by Cézanne was created, but Cézanne left it unfinished because he was not satisfied with it.

Posthumous effect

Retrospectives after Cézanne's death in Paris in 1907

Two retrospectives posthumously paid tribute to the artist in 1907. From June 17 to 29, the Parisian gallery Bernheim-Jeune showed 79 watercolors by Cézanne. The V.  Salon d'Automne then paid homage to him from October 5 to November 15 and exhibited 49 paintings and seven watercolors in two rooms in the Grand Palais . The German visitors included the art historian Julius Meier-Graefe , who was to write the first Cézanne biography in 1910, Harry Graf Kessler and Rainer Maria Rilke . The two exhibitions motivated many artists, such as Georges Braque , André Derain , Wassily Kandinsky , Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso , to share their crucial insights into the art of the 20th century.

Exhibitions in London and the United States

Laub , 1895–1900, exhibited at Galerie 291, New York 1911
Armory Show poster , New York 1913

In 1910, some of Cézanne's paintings were shown in the Manet and the Post-Impressionists exhibition in London (another followed in 1912). The exhibition was initiated by the painter and art critic Roger Fry in the Grafton Galleries, who wanted to introduce English art lovers to the work of Édouard Manet , Georges Seurat , Vincent van Gogh , Paul Gauguin and Cézanne. Fry created the name for the style of post-impressionism . Although the exhibition was judged negatively by critics and the public, it should nevertheless become significant for the history of modern art . Fry recognized the extraordinary value of the path that artists like van Gogh and Cézanne had taken, by expressing their personal feelings and worldview through their paintings, even if visitors at the time could not yet understand it. Cézanne's first exhibition in the United States took place in 1910/11 at Gallery 291 in New York. In 1913 his works were exhibited on the Armory Show in New York ; it was a groundbreaking exhibition of works of art and sculptures of the modern age , although here too the exhibits received criticism and derision. Today, these artists, criticized and ridiculed even by their own art academies during their lifetime, are seen as the fathers of modern art.

Influence on modernity and misinterpretations

FF 100 banknote (recto), with a portrait of Paul Cézanne, the painting The Sea in l'Estaque , and a depiction of The Card Players .
FF 100 banknote (verso), with the painting apples and biscuits and a depiction of The Card Players .

“Cézanne! Cézanne was the father of all of us. "

"A kind of dear god of painting."

Many “productive” misunderstandings lie hidden in the reception of the works and the alleged intentions of Cézanne, which had a considerable influence on the further course and development of modern art. The list of those artists who more or less justifiably referred to him and who used individual elements from the abundance of his creative approaches to create their own images shows an almost complete art history of the 20th century. As early as 1910, Apollinaire stated that "most of the new painters claim to be the successors of this serious painter who is only interested in art".

Immediately after Cézanne's death in 1906, stimulated by a comprehensive exhibition of his watercolors in the spring of 1907 at the Bernheim-Jeune gallery and a retrospective in October 1907 at the Salon d'Automne in Paris, a lively examination of his work began. Among the young French artists, Matisse and Derain were the first to be gripped by their passion for Cézanne, followed by Picasso , Fernand Léger , Georges Braque , Marcel Duchamp and Piet Mondrian . This enthusiasm was permanent, as the eighty-year-old Matisse said in 1949 that he owed Cézanne's art most of all. Braque also referred to Cézanne's influence on his art as “initiation” and said in 1961: “Cézanne was the first to turn away from the learned mechanized perspective.” Picasso confessed, “For me he was the only master ... he was a father figure for us: it was he who offered us protection. "

The Cézanne expert Götz Adriani notes, however, that the cubist reception of Cézanne - in particular the salon cubists Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger , who in their treatise Du cubisme from 1912 put Cézanne at the beginning of their way of painting - was altogether quite arbitrary was. So they largely disregarded the motivation gained from observing nature. In this context, he points out the formalistic misinterpretations that refer to the paper published by Bernard in 1907. Here it says, among other things, "treat nature according to cylinder, sphere and cone". Further misinterpretations of this kind can be found in the text published by Malewitsch in 1919 "From the new systems in art". In his quotation, for example, Cézanne did not aim to reinterpret the experience of nature in the sense of orienting it towards cubic form elements; he was more concerned with corresponding to the object forms and their colors under the various aspects in the picture.

Mardi Gras ( Shrovetide ), 1888, Pushkin Museum , Moscow

One of the many examples of Cézanne's influence on modernism is the painting Mardi Gras , which shows his son Paul with his friend Louis Guillaume and which includes a subject from the Commedia dell'arte . Picasso inspired it on a harlequin theme in his pink period. Matisse, in turn, took up the theme of the most classic painting from the Bathers series , The Great Bathers from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, for his painting The Bathers from 1909.

Paula Modersohn-Becker: Still Life with Apples and Bananas , 1905, Kunsthalle Bremen . The picture shows the influence of Cézanne's still lifes.

The aforementioned artists are just the beginning of a series of inspired people. The painter Paula Modersohn-Becker , who died early, had already seen Cézanne's paintings at Vollard in 1900, which had deeply impressed her. Shortly before her death, she wrote in a letter from Worpswede to Clara Westhoff from Worpswede on October 21, 1907 : “These days I have been thinking and thinking strongly of Cézanne and how one of the three or four painters is who has affected me like a thunderstorm or a major event. ” Paul Klee noted in his diary in 1909:“ Cézanne is a teacher par excellence ”after seeing more than a dozen paintings by Cézanne in the Munich Secession . The artist group Der Blaue Reiter referred to him in their almanac in 1912, in which Franz Marc reported on the intellectual affinity between El Greco and Cézanne, whose works he saw as the gateway to a new era in painting. Again Kandinsky , who had seen Cézanne's painting at the retrospective in 1907 in the Salon d'Automne, referred to Cézanne in his work “About the Spiritual in Art” published in 1912, in whose work he recognized a “strong resonance of the abstract” found the spiritual part of his beliefs given in him. Max Beckmann saw in his 1912 work Thoughts on Contemporary and Untimely Art in Cézanne as much as Franz Marc. El Lissitzky emphasized his importance for the Russian avant-garde around 1923 , and Lenin suggested in 1918 that monuments be erected for the heroes of the world revolution; Courbet and Cézanne were on the honor roll.

In addition to Matisse, Alberto Giacometti dealt most closely with Cézanne's method of representation. Aristide Maillol worked on a Cézanne memorial in 1909, but this failed due to the rejection by the city council of Aix-en-Provence. Cézanne was also an important authority for artists of the newer generation. Marked Jasper Johns him next to Duchamp and Leonardo da Vinci as the most important role model. AR Penck , on the other hand, referred to the conceptual achievements of Cézanne and emphasized: “Cézanne also begins what we call underground today. The assertion of one's own space and one's own objective against the prevailing tendency of the time. ”In 1989, when dealing with Cézanne's works, the Dane Per Kirkeby said that here someone“ gave his artistic life as a pledge for something that is most of what we do usually occupy, as anxious addiction to originality and superficiality appear ”.

The German artist Willi Baumeister , who originally created figurative works influenced by Impressionism, turned his interest to Cubism and Paul Cézanne as early as 1910, whose work he remained connected to throughout his life. In the introduction to a picture portfolio about Cézanne published in 1947, he stated: “There are two angles in the history of modern art. One angle of diffraction is between Cimabue and Giotto . [...] The second angle of diffraction in the history of art lies with Cézanne. The turning away from the 'lifelike image' and the turning towards independent creation of form and color begins. [...] If you enlarge certain parts of the picture in Cézanne, [...] you notice a rhythmic structure that can be called cubist and that cubism adopted. "

Cézanne's influence on Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke, photo, around 1900

"When I remember how strange and uncertain you saw the first things", Rainer Maria Rilke wrote to his wife after visiting the great Cézanne retrospective in the Paris Salon d'Automne in 1907, which Paula Modersohn-Becker drew his attention to had: "[...] nothing for a long time and suddenly you have the right eyes." With this statement, Rilke made clear his great interest in painting, from which he hoped to find solutions to his literary problems: "It's not painting at all that I study […]. It is the turning point in this painting that I recognized because I had just achieved it myself in my work. ”With Cézanne he saw how“ mood painting ”could be overcome. This corresponded to his conception of poetry, which was already implemented in the New Poems . After the exhibition he continued the other part of The New Poems , where the application of the principle of “factual telling” in the poem The Flamingos becomes clear. That Rilke was not the only modernist author, for attained the issue of the different forms and functions of images and imagery in literature of central importance, is among other things the effect on the literature in 1900, for example, in the works of Hugo von Hofmannsthal with the “penetration of color into language”.

Handkes The teaching of the Sainte-Victoire

Peter Handke sums up in his book The Teaching of Sainte-Victoire , published in 1980 : “Yes, I owe it to the painter Paul Cézanne that I stood in the colors at that vacant spot between Aix-en-Provence and the village of Le Tholonet even the asphalt road appeared to me as a colored substance [...] "And he continues:" [...] so I saw [pictures] as mere accessories from the beginning and didn't expect anything decisive from them for a long time. "Handke succeeds in his book the approach of an author to the visual arts through the art-theoretical references of Cézanne's view of reality embedded in the text.

Cézanne and philosophy

The French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard explains in his work The Misery of Philosophy that Cézanne has, so to speak, the sixth sense : he feels the reality that is emerging before it is completed in normal perception. The painter touches the sublime when he sees the overwhelming mountain landscape, which cannot be represented with normal language or with the usual painting technique. Lyotard sums up: "One can also say that the uncanny of the oil paintings and watercolors dedicated to the mountains and the fruits comes from a deep sense of the disappearance of the phenomena as well as from the end of the visible world."

Films about Cézanne

Self-portrait , around 1875, Musée d'Orsay , Paris

Une visite au Louvre , 2004. Film and direction by Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet about Cézanne, based on the posthumously published conversations with the painter passed down by his admirer Joachim Gasquet . The film describes a stroll by Cézanne in the Louvre along the pictures of his artist colleagues.

To mark the 100th anniversary of Cézanne's death in 2006, two documentaries from 1995 and 2000 about Paul Cézanne and his motif La Montagne Sainte-Victoire were republished . The Triumph Cézannes was shot again for the anniversary year 2006.

The violence of the motif , 1995. A film by Alain Jaubert. A mountain near his home town of Aix-en-Provence becomes Cézanne's main subject. He shows La Montagne Sainte-Victoire over 80 times from different perspectives, at different times of the year. The motif becomes an obsession that Jaubert gets to the bottom of with his film.

Cézanne - the painter , 2000. A film by Elisabeth Kapnist. The story of a passion and a lifelong artistic search: the painter Cézanne, his childhood, his friendship with Zola and his encounter with impressionism are portrayed.

The Triumph of Cézanne , 2006. A film by Jacques Deschamps. Deschamps takes the 100th anniversary of Cézanne's death in October 2006 as an opportunity to trace the origins of a legend. Cézanne met with rejection and incomprehension before he was allowed to rise to the Olympus of art history and the international art market.

My time with Cézanne , 2016. A film by Danièle Thompson about Cézanne's friendship with Émile Zola .

In Cézanne's footsteps in Provence

Cézanne's hut at the Bibémus quarry
Atelier Cézanne in Aix-en-Province

Visitors to Aix-en-Province can discover Cézanne's landscape motifs on five marked trails from the city center. They lead to Le Tholonet, the Jas de Bouffan, the Bibémus quarry, the banks of the Arc River and the Les Lauves studio .

The Les Lauves Atelier has been open to the public since 1954. An American foundation, initiated by James Lord and John Rewald , made this possible with funds from 114 donors. She bought it from the previous owner Marcel Provence and transferred it to the University of Aix. In 1969 the atelier was transferred to the city of Aix. Here the visitor will find Cézanne's furniture, easel and palette, the objects that appear on his still lifes and some original drawings and watercolors.

During their lifetime, most of the residents of Aix mocked their fellow citizen Cézanne. More recently, they have even named a university after their world-famous artist: The Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III University was founded in 1973 in Aix-en-Provence, with the departments of law and political science, business administration, and natural science and technology.

As a result of the rejection of his works in the past, the Musée Granet in Aix had to make do with a loan of paintings from the Louvre in order to be able to present Cézanne, the son of their city, to visitors. The museum received eight paintings and a few watercolors in 1984, including a motif from the bathers series and a portrait of Mme Cézanne . Thanks to another foundation in 2000, nine paintings by Cézanne are now exhibited there.

Cézanne's works on the current art market

Still life with curtain, jug and bowl of fruit , 1893–94, private collection

The increase in value of Cézanne's paintings on the art market can be seen from the result of an auction on May 10, 1999 in New York: the still life with curtain, jug and fruit bowl was auctioned for 60.5 million US dollars. At that time it was the highest sum that was ever paid for a picture of Cézanne. Sotheby’s auction house had estimated the painting to be worth only $ 25 to 35 million.

The auction of his watercolor Nature morte au melon vert represents a similar development ; it changed hands at Sotheby's in May 2007 for a price of $ 25.5 million. The still life from the artist's late creative phase between 1902 and 1906 shows a green melon. Originally, the retail price was estimated at $ 14 million to $ 18 million.

In the spring of 2011, his work The Card Players - one of five versions - was said to have sold for $ 275 million. The exact amount and the new owner are not yet known. That would be the highest price a painting ever fetched at the time.

A watercolor from the card player series , believed to have been lost for almost 60 years, was auctioned on May 1, 2012 to an equally anonymous bidder in New York for a price of 19 million dollars.

Bronze statue of Cézanne by Gabriel Sterk on the Place de la Rotonde in Aix-en-Provence

Posthumous exhibitions (selection)

Literature and new media

Cézanne in self-testimonies

  • Paul Cézanne: About art, conversations with Gasquet. Edited by Walter Hess, in: Rowohlt's Classics of Literature and Science, ed. by Ernesto Grassi, Rowohlt Verlag Hamburg 1957; Mäander Kunstverlag, Mittenwald 1980, ISBN 3-88219-058-2 (Joachim Gasquet: Cézanne. 1921)
  • Paul Cézanne: letters . Published by John Rewald , Diogenes Verlag, Zurich, 1962; Paperback edition 3rd edition 2002, ISBN 3-257-21655-6
  • Conversations with Cézanne . Edited by Michael Doran, translated by Jürg Bischoff, Diogenes Verlag, Zurich, new edition 1998, ISBN 3-257-21974-1
  • Dino Heicker (Ed.): Cézanne - Zola. Portrait of a friendship between men . Complete correspondence and in a new German translation by Dino Heicker and Alexandre Pateau. Parthas, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-86964-054-9

Secondary literature

  • Götz Adriani : Paul Cézanne. Life and work (CH Beck knowledge in the Beck'sche series), CH Beck Verlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-406-54690-7 .
  • Götz Adriani: Cézanne. Painting , DuMont Buchverlag, Cologne 1993, ISBN 3-7701-3088-X
  • Götz Adriani: Cézanne. Aquarelle , DuMont Buchverlag, Cologne 1982, ISBN 3-7701-1346-2
  • Kurt Badt: The Art of Cézanne , Prestel Verlag, Munich 1956
  • Felix A. Baumann, Walter Feilchenfeldt, Hubertus Gaßner : Cézanne. Departure into the modern age. Hatje Cantz Verlag, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-7757-1487-1
  • Ulrike Becks-Malorny: Cézanne, 1839–1906. Pioneer of modernity . Taschen Verlag, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-8228-5583-6
  • Kai Buchholz: Paul Cézanne's art theory and its origins. In: Journal for Aesthetics and General Art History . 44 (1999), pp. 85-102
  • Paul Cézanne, Felix A. Baumann, Evelyn Benesch, Walter Feilchenfeldt: Cézanne - Complete - Unfinished , Hatje Cantz Verlag, Zurich 2000, ISBN 3-7757-0878-2
  • Lorenz Dittmann : The Art of Cézanne. Color - rhythm - symbolism . Böhlau, Cologne 2005. ISBN 3-412-11605-X
  • Hajo Düchting: Cézanne . (Prestel Art Guide). Prestel Verlag, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-7913-3201-5
  • Peter Handke : The teaching of the Sainte-Victoire . Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1980, ISBN 3-518-37570-9
  • Heinz-Georg Held: DuMont crash course. Cezanne. The emergence of the modern view of art . DuMont Literature and Art Verlag, Cologne 2006, ISBN 978-3-8321-7677-8
  • Peter Kropmanns: Cézanne. A biography . Philipp Reclam jun. Verlag, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 978-3-15-010610-5
  • Kurt Leonhard: Cézanne . Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek, 13th edition 2003, ISBN 3-499-50114-7
  • Michael Lüthy: Relational aesthetics: About the 'stain' in Cézanne and Lacan , in: Blickzähmung und Augenentünschung. On Jacques Lacan's image theory , ed. by Claudia Blümle and Anne von der Heiden, Zurich / Berlin 2005, pp. 265–288, ISBN 3-935300-80-8
  • Jean-François Lyotard : The Misery of Philosophy . Passagen-Verlag, Vienna 2004, ISBN 3-85165-551-6
  • Rainer Maria Rilke: Letters about Cézanne , Insel Verlag, Frankfurt / Main, 7th edition 2005, ISBN 978-3-458-32372-3 The selection was first put together in 1952 by Rilke's wife Clara.
  • Meyer Schapiro : Paul Cézanne (9th edition). DuMont, Cologne 2003, ISBN 3-8321-7338-2
  • Ambroise Vollard : Paul Cézanne. Conversations and memories , translated by Margaretha Reischach-Scheffel. Diogenes Verlag, Zurich, 5th edition 2002, ISBN 3-257-21749-8
  • Angela Wenzel: Paul Cézanne - A life for painting . Prestel Verlag, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-7913-3295-3
  • Christoph Wetzel : Paul Cézanne. Life and work , Belser-Verlag , Stuttgart / Zurich 1989, ISBN 978-3-7630-1933-5

Catalog of works:

  • Adrien Chappuis: The Drawings of Paul Cézanne - A Catalog Raisonné . Two volumes, Thames and Hudson, London 1973, ISBN 0-500-09088-2
  • John Rewald : Paul Cézanne - The Watercolors: A Catalog Raisonné . Thames and Hudson, London 1983, ISBN 0-500-09164-1
  • John Rewald: Paintings of Paul Cézanne - A Catalog Raisonné . Two volumes. New York 1996, ISBN 978-0-8109-4044-4 . The catalog raisonné is an extension of Lionello Venturi's version from 1936, the archive of which was given to John Rewald after his death.

Cézanne in the detective novel:


Web links

Commons : Paul Cézanne  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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This article was added to the list of excellent articles on January 6, 2009 in this version .