He became the first artist of his generation to deliberately and successfully break away from Impressionism. Cézanne was a forerunner to the Cubism movement, and his work became a catalyst for the abstract art of the 20th century and he became known as the father of modern art.
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How should we look at Cézanne? Pablo Picasso regarded him as a “mother hovering over,” Henri Matisse as “father to us all.” Inevitably, our understanding of Cézanne’s painting is colored by later cubism and abstraction, focusing attention on the formal aspects of his work. His reduction of the visible world into basic, underlying shapes, the faceted brushstrokes that seem to reconstruct nature through purely painterly forms, the fracture and flattening of space—all these can be seen as the beginnings of modern art. Yet Cézanne himself stressed that he painted from nature and according to his sensations, seeking to realize a “harmony parallel to nature.”
Cézanne associated with the Impressionists, but always had other aims. He said that his ambition was to ‘make of Impressionism something solid and durable like the art of museums’. Cézanne’s work was discovered by the Paris avant-garde during the 1890s. It had a significant influence on Picasso and the development of 20th-century art…
Cézanne ignores the laws of classical perspective, allowing each object to be independent within the space of a picture while the relationship of one object to another takes precedence over traditional single-point perspective.
Cézanne absorbed many influences, including those of Courbet and Manet, in his early years. In his early works he often imitated Courbet, applying thick layers of paint with a palette knife. He later told Renoir that it took him twenty years to realise that painting was not sculpture.