1839, Aix-en-Provence – 1906, Aix-en-Provence
In 1861 Cézanne went to Paris, where in the conventional fashion he set about copying Poussin, Delacroix and Daumier, painting romantic, baroque-like compositions of figures in dark, thickly applied colours. His palette gradually brightened after being introduced to the Impressionists by his childhood friend Emile Zola and, in 1873, having started painting outdoors under the influence of his fellow artist Pisarro. He exhibited with the Impressionists in 1874 and 1877, but it was not until 1895 that he was given a first one-man exhibition in the gallery of Ambroise Vollard in Paris. From the 1890s onwards he lived mostly in his home town of Aix-en-Provence. It was here, particularly through his landscape studies of the countryside around Mont Sainte-Victoire, but also in still lifes and portraits, that he developed his own style. This involved reducing natural phenomena to simple elementary geometric forms, flattening spatial depth and building the picture’s composition from finely modulated spots of colour. It was by thus releasing form and colour from their representational function that he emerged as the major precursor of modern painting.