Paul Cézanne

gigatos | March 5, 2022


Paul Cézanne († October 22, 1906 ibid) was a French painter. Cézanne”s work is assigned to different styles: While his early works were still characterized by Romanticism – such as the murals in the Jas de Bouffan country house – and Realism, he arrived at a new pictorial language through intensive study of Impressionist forms of expression, which attempted to consolidate the deliquescent pictorial impression of Impressionist works. He abandoned the illusionistic distant effect, broke the rules established by the representatives of Academic Art, and strove for a renewal of traditional creative methods based on the Impressionist color space and color modulatory principles.

His painting provoked incomprehension and ridicule among contemporary art critics. Until the late 1890s, it was mainly fellow artists such as Pissarro, Monet, and Renoir, as well as art collectors and the gallery owner Ambroise Vollard, who became aware of Cézanne”s work and 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 discussion of the artist”s work.

Of the many artists who took their cue from Cézanne”s work after his death, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, and André Derain are particularly worthy of mention. The contrasting orientation of the painterly works of the aforementioned artists reveals the complexity of Cézanne”s oeuvre. From an art historical point of view, Cézanne”s works rank him among the pioneers of Classical Modernism.

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

Childhood and education

Paul Cézanne was born the son of Louis-Auguste Cézanne, a hat dealer and later banker, and Anne-Elisabeth-Honorine Aubert at 28 rue de l”Opera in Aix-en-Provence. His parents did not marry until after Paul and his sister Marie (b. 1841) were born on January 29, 1844, and his youngest sister Rose was born in June 1854. In the years from 1844 to 1849 he attended elementary school; this was followed by education at the École de Saint-Joseph. Fellow students were the later sculptor Philippe Solari and Henri Gasquet, father of the writer Joachim Gasquet, who would publish his book Cézanne in 1921.

From 1852 Cézanne attended the Collège Bourbon (now Lycée Mignet), where he became friends with the future novelist Émile Zola and the future engineer Jean-Baptistin Baille. They were known at the Collège as the “lovebirds.” It was probably the most carefree time of his life, as the friends swam and fished on the banks of the Arc. They debated art, read Homer and Virgil, and practiced writing their own poetry. Cézanne often composed his verse in Latin. Zola urged him to pursue poetry with greater seriousness, but Cézanne saw it only as a pastime. On November 12, 1858, Cézanne passed the Baccalauréat examination.

At the request of his authoritarian father, who traditionally saw in his son the heir to his bank Cézanne & Cabassol, founded in 1848, which had brought him the rise from merchant 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 jurisprudence. He spent two years on the unloved study, but increasingly neglected it, preferring to devote himself to drawing exercises and writing poetry. Beginning in 1859, Cézanne took classes in evening classes at the city”s Free Municipal Drawing School, which was housed in Aix”s art museum, the Musée Granet. His teacher was the academic painter Joseph Gibert (1806-1884). In August 1859 he won second prize there in the course for figure studies.

His father bought the estate Jas de Bouffan (House of the Wind) in the same year. This partially dilapidated Baroque residence of the former provincial governor later became the painter”s home and workplace for a long time. The building and the old trees in the estate”s park were among the artist”s favorite subjects. In 1860, Cézanne received permission to paint the walls of the salon; the large-scale murals of the four seasons were created: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter (now in the Petit Palais in Paris), which Cézanne ironically signed Ingres, whose works he did not appreciate. The winter painting additionally contains the date 1811, it forms an allusion to Ingres” painting Jupiter and Thetis, which was painted at that time and is exhibited in the Musée Granet. Probably the paintings Summer and Winter were created first, in which a certain awkwardness in the use of the painting technique is still evident. Spring and autumn appear to be better worked through. What the sequence of seasons has in common is a romanticizing aura that is not to be found later in Cézanne”s works.

Study in Paris

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

Cézanne moved to Paris in April 1861. The high hopes he had placed in Paris were not fulfilled, as 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 nude drawing. There he met Camille Pissarro, ten years his senior, and Achille Emperaire from his hometown of Aix. He often copied at the Louvre from works by old masters such as Michelangelo, Rubens and Titian. But the city remained foreign to him, and he soon thought of returning to Aix-en-Provence.

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

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

In contrast to the official art life of France, Cézanne was influenced by Gustave Courbet and Eugène Delacroix, who strove for a renewal of art and demanded the depiction of unadorned reality. Courbet”s followers called themselves “realists” and followed his principle Il faut encanailler l”art (“One must throw art into the gutter”), formulated as early as 1849, meaning that art had to be brought down from its ideal height and made a matter of everyday life. The final break with historical painting was made by Édouard Manet, who was not interested in analytical observation, but in the reproduction of his subjective perception and the liberation of the pictorial object from symbolic loading.

The exclusion of the works of Manet, Pissarro and Monet from the official salon, the Salon de Paris, in 1863 caused such outrage among artists that Napoleon III had a “Salon des Refusés” (Salon of the Rejected) set up next to 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 classical style of painting according to Ingres. This view corresponded to the taste of the bourgeois public, which rejected the exhibition in the “Salon des Refusés”.

Cézanne returned to Aix in the summer of 1865. Zola”s first novel, La Confession de Claude, was published. It is dedicated to the childhood friends Cézanne and Baille. In the fall of 1866, Cézanne executed a whole series of paintings in palette knife technique, mainly still lifes and portraits. He spent most of 1867 in Paris, and the second half of 1868 in Aix. In early 1869 he returned to Paris and met Hortense Fiquet, a bookbinder”s assistant eleven years his junior, at the Académie Suisse, where she worked as a painter”s model to earn a little extra money.

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

On May 31, 1870, Cézanne was 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 frequently visit and paint, as the Mediterranean atmosphere of the place fascinated him. He had avoided being called up for military service. Although Cézanne was denounced as a deserter in January 1871, he managed to hide. More details are not known, since documents from this time are missing.

After the suppression 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 family, which was not befitting his status, from his father so that he would not lose the financial allowances he received to live as an artist.

When Cézanne”s friend, the crippled painter Achille Emperaire, sought shelter with the family in Paris in 1872 out of financial need, he soon left the quarters in Rue Jussieu: “it was necessary, because otherwise I would not have escaped the fate of the others. I found him abandoned here by everyone. There is no more talk of Zola, Solari and all the others. He is the strangest fellow imaginable.”

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 doctor of the painter Vincent van Gogh. Gachet was also an ambitious leisure painter and made his studio available to Cézanne.

In 1872, Cézanne accepted an invitation from his friend Pissarro to collaborate in Pontoise in the Oise Valley. Pissarro, as a sensitive artist, became a mentor for the shy, irritable Cézanne; he was able to persuade him to turn away from the dark colors on his color palette and gave him the advice: “Always paint only with the three primary colors (red, yellow, blue) and their immediate variations.” In addition, he said, he should refrain from linear contouring; the shape of things emerges through the gradation of color tone values. Cézanne felt that the Impressionist technique brought him closer to his goal, and he followed his friend”s advice. They often painted together in front of the subject. Later, Pissarro reported, “We were constantly together, but still each of us preserved what counts alone: our own sensibility.”

A clear example can be seen in two of the paintings shown here: In contrast to the dark colors and strong contours of the melting snow in L”Estaque, the later work View of Auvers shows the technique learned from Pissarro combined with Cézanne”s close observation of the landscape.

First Impressionist group exhibitions from 1874

The young painters in Paris did not see any promotion of their works in the Salon de Paris and therefore took up Claude Monet”s plan, already conceived in 1867, of an exhibition of their own. From April 15 to May 15, 1874, the first group exhibition of the Société anonyme des artistes, peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, later known as the Impressionists, took place. This name comes from the title of the exhibited painting Impression soleil levant by Monet. In the satirical magazine Le Charivari, the critic Louis Leroy referred to the group as “Impressionists” and thus created the term of this new art movement. The exhibition venue was the studio of the photographer Nadar on the Boulevard des Capucines.

Pissarro pushed through Cézanne”s participation against the objections of some members who feared Cézanne”s bold paintings would harm the exhibition. In addition to Cézanne, Renoir, Monet, Alfred Sisley, Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, and Pissarro, among others, exhibited. Manet declined to participate; to him, Cézanne was “a mason who paints with a trowel.” Cézanne in particular caused a great stir, outrage, and sneers among critics with his paintings such as Landscape near Auvers and A Modern Olympia. In A Modern Olympia, created as a pictorial quotation of Manet”s much-maligned 1863 painting Olympia, Cézanne sought an even more drastic depiction, showing not only the prostitute and servant but also the suitor, in whose likeness Cézanne was personally assumed to be.

The exhibition proved to be a financial failure; the final accounts 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 paintings that managed to sell, despite the detractors. The collector Count Doria acquired it for 300 francs.

In 1875 Cézanne met the customs inspector and art collector Victor Chocquet, who, mediated by Renoir, bought three of his works and became his most loyal collector. Cézanne did not participate in the second exhibition of the group, but in 1877, in the third exhibition, he presented no less than 16 of his works, which again attracted considerable criticism. It was the last time that he exhibited together with the Impressionists. Another patron was the paint dealer Julien “Père” Tanguy, who supported the young painters by supplying them with paints and canvas in exchange for paintings.

In March 1878, Cézanne”s father learned of his 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 for Cézanne began a financially strained period 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 sensibility” and that the latter, on the other hand, painted only chinoiseries. Antoine Guillemet, a friend of Cézanne, became a member of the Salon jury in 1882. Since each member of the jury had the privilege of showing a painting by one of his students, he passed Cézanne off as his student and achieved his first participation at the Salon. The work, it was a portrait of his father from the sixties, was hung in a poorly exposed spot in a secluded room in the top row and received no attention.

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

Break with Zola, marriage 1886

The long friendly relationship with Émile Zola had become more distant. The urbane, successful writer had set up a luxurious summer home in Médan near Auvers in 1878, where Cézanne had visited him repeatedly between 1879 and 1882, as well as in 1885; but his friend”s lavish lifestyle had shown him, who led an unassuming life, his own inadequacy and caused him to self-doubt.

Zola, who by now regarded the childhood friend as a failure, published his key novel L”Œuvre from the Rougon-Macquart cycle of novels in March 1886, whose protagonist, the painter Claude Lantier, fails to achieve the realization of his goals and commits suicide. To heighten the parallels between fiction and biography, Zola”s work placed the painter Lantier alongside the successful writer Sandoz. Monet and Edmond de Goncourt saw the painter”s character in the novel as describing rather Édouard Manet, but Cézanne found himself reflected in many details as a person. He formally thanked the artist for sending him the work supposedly referring to him. The contact between the two childhood friends then broke off forever.

On April 28, 1886, Paul Cézanne and Hortense Fiquet were married in the presence of his parents in Aix. The union with Hortense was not legalized out of love, as their relationship had been broken for some time. Cézanne had a shyness towards women and a panic fear of being touched, a trauma that stemmed from his childhood when, according to his own testimony, a fellow student had kicked him from behind on the stairs. Through the marriage, rather, the now fourteen-year-old son Paul, whom Cézanne loved very much, should be secured in his rights as a legitimate son.

Despite the strained relationship, Hortense was the person Cézanne portrayed most often. From the early seventies to the early nineties, 26 paintings of Hortense are known. She endured the strenuous sessions motionless and patient. The painting shown was made around 1890 in the apartment on Île Saint-Louis in Paris at Quai d”Anjou 15.

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

Exhibition at Les Vingt 1890

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 studio. In 1890, Cézanne contracted diabetes; the disease made him even more difficult to deal with.

Hoping that his troubled relationship with Hortense could stabilize, Cézanne spent a few months in Switzerland with her and his son Paul. 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 group Les Vingt in Brussels. The Société des Vingt, or Les XX or Les Vingt, German Die XX or Die Zwanzig, was an association of Belgian or Belgian-based artists founded around 1883, including Fernand Khnopff, Théo van Rysselberghe, James Ensor, and the brother and sister Anna and Eugène Boch.

Cézanne”s first solo exhibition in Paris in 1895

In May 1895, together with Pissarro, he visited Monet”s exhibition at the Galerie Durand-Ruel. He was enthusiastic, but later characteristically named the year 1868 as Monet”s strongest period, when he 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 village of Le Tholonet, where he lived in the “Château Noir”, which is located on the Sainte-Victoire mountains. He often took the mountains in particular as a subject 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. He showed in his gallery a selection of 50 out of about 150 works that Cézanne had sent him as a package. Vollard had met Degas and Renoir in 1894 through the exhibition of a Manet collection in his small store, and they exchanged Manet works with him for works of 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 by three then-unknown artists from his estate at a very reasonable price: Cézanne, Gauguin and van Gogh. The first buyer of a Cézanne painting was Monet, followed by colleagues such as Degas, Renoir, Pissarro, and later art collectors. Prices for Cézanne”s works rose a hundredfold, and Vollard profited as always from his stock.

In 1897, a Cézanne painting was purchased by a museum for the first time. Hugo von Tschudi acquired Cézanne”s landscape painting The Mill at the Couleuvre near Pontoise from the Galerie Durand-Ruel for the Berlin National Gallery.

Cézanne”s mother died on October 25, 1897. In November 1899, at the urging of his sister, he sold the now practically orphaned estate “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” estate had not materialized. He hired a housekeeper, Mme Bremond, to look after him until his death.

Tribute to Cézanne

Meanwhile, the art market continued to respond positively to Cézanne”s works; for example, Pissarro wrote from Paris in June 1899 of the auction of Chocquet”s collection from his estate: “These include thirty-two Cézannes of the first rank . The Cézannes will bring very high prices and are already set at four to five thousand francs.” This auction was the first time that market prices were achieved for paintings by Cézanne, but they were still “far below those for paintings by Manet, Monet, or Renoir.”

In 1901 Maurice Denis exhibited his large painting Hommage à Cézanne, created in 1900, in Paris and Brussels. The subject of the painting is Ambroise Vollard”s gallery, which presents a picture – Cézanne”s painting Still Life with Fruit Bowl – 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 held by the Musée d”Orsay, Paris. About the people portrayed: Odilon Redon is in the foreground on the left, listening to Paul Sérusier, who is across from him. From left to right are also Edouard Vuillard, the critic André Mellerio with top hat, Vollard behind the easel, Maurice Denis, Paul Ranson, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Pierre Bonnard with pipe, and far right Marthe Denis, the wife of the painter.

The last years

In 1901, Cézanne purchased a plot of land north of the town of Aix-en-Provence, where he had the studio on the Chemin des Lauves built according to his needs in 1902. 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 on the outside wall through which natural light could flow. That year Zola died, leaving Cézanne in mourning despite the estrangement.

His health deteriorated with increasing age; his diabetes was joined by old-age depression, which manifested itself in growing distrust of his fellow men, even to the point of paranoia. However, his fellow citizens of Aix and parts of the press did not make it easy for him. Despite the artist”s increasing recognition, spiteful 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 have withdrawn from the world,” was how the old Cézanne expressed himself to his coachman.

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 at the newly founded Salon d”Automne (Paris Autumn Salon). The painter and art theorist Émile Bernard first visited him for a month in February 1904 and published an article about the painter in the magazine L”Occident in July. At the time, 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 to be completed from the first day. He later considered this work Cézanne”s legacy, summing up, “Truly, his way of working was reflection with brush in hand.” The memento mori still lifes, created several times, revealed Cézanne”s increasing depression with age, which resonated in his letters from 1896 onward with remarks such as “life begins to be for me of a fatal monotony.” A correspondence developed with Bernard until Cézanne”s death; he first published his memoirs Souvenirs sur Paul Cézanne in the Mercure de France in 1907, and they appeared in book form in 1912.

From October 15 to November 15, 1904, an entire room of the Salon d”Automne was devoted to Cézanne”s works. In 1905, an exhibition was held in London, where his works were also shown; the Galerie Vollard exhibited his works in June, and the Salon d”Automne joined again from October 19 to November 25 with 10 paintings.

The art historian and patron Karl Ernst Osthaus, who founded the Museum Folkwang in 1902, visited Cézanne on April 13, 1906, in the hope of acquiring a painting by the artist. His wife Gertrud took what was probably the last photographic image of Cézanne. Osthaus described his visit in his book Ein Besuch bei Cézanne.

Despite his late successes, Cézanne could only ever 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 am becoming more lucid before nature, but that with me the realization of my sensations is always very laborious. I cannot reach the intensity that develops before my senses, I do not possess that wonderful richness of color that animates nature.”

On October 15, while painting in front of the motif, Cézanne was caught in a storm; he lost consciousness, was picked up by the coachmen of a laundry cart and brought home. Due to hypothermia, he contracted severe pneumonia. The next day, Cézanne still went to the garden to work on his last painting, Portrait of the Gardener Vallier, and wrote an indignant letter to his paint dealer, complaining about the delay in the paint delivery. However, his health deteriorated visibly. His wife Hortense and son Paul were informed by telegraph by the housekeeper, but they arrived too late. On October 22, 1906, Cézanne died in Aix-en-Provence.


Cézanne”s early “dark” period was influenced by the works of French Romanticism and incipient Realism; models were Eugène Delacroix and Gustave Courbet. His paintings are characterized by a thick application of paint, contrasting dark tones with pronounced shadows, the use of pure black and other hues mixed with black, brown, gray, and Prussian blue; occasionally a few white flecks or green and red brushstrokes are added to lighten the monochrome monotony. The themes of his paintings from this period are portraits of family members or demonic-erotic content, echoing his own traumatic experiences. Examples are The Abduction and The Murder.

In his second – the Impressionist – period, he took his cue from the works of Camille Pissarro and Édouard Manet, abandoning his dark painting style and now using a color palette based purely on the basic tones, yellow, red and blue. In this way, he broke away from his technique of heavy, often overloaded color application and adopted the loose painting technique of his models, consisting of brushstrokes placed next to each other. Portraits and figurative compositions receded in these years. Cézanne subsequently created landscape paintings in which the illusionistic depth of space was more and more clearly eliminated. The “objects” continued to be conceived as volumes and reduced to their basic geometric forms. 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 distant effect is created. In this way, Cézanne left the traditional pictorial space on the one hand, but on the other hand worked against the dissolving impression of Impressionist pictorial works. Among other things, he created paintings with motifs from the Jas de Bouffan and L”Estaque.

This was followed by the “Period of Synthesis,” in which Cézanne now completely detached himself from the Impressionist style of painting. He solidified the forms through two-dimensional diagonal application of paint, abolished the perspective representation to create pictorial depth and focused his attention on the balance of the composition. During this period he increasingly created landscape and figure paintings. 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 quivers, 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 appear clearly. Clearly but they must be properly distributed, blend into each other. Everything must play together and yet again form contrasts. It”s the volumes alone that count!”

The still lifes, which Cézanne began painting in the late 1880s, are another focus of his work. He eschewed the linear perspective rendering of motifs and instead depicted them in dimensions that made sense to him compositionally; for example, a pear might be oversized in order to achieve inner-pictorial balance and a composition rich in tension. He built his arrangements in the studio. In addition to the fruit, there are jugs, pots and plates, occasionally a putto, often surrounded by a white, puffed tablecloth, which gives the subject baroque fullness. It is not the objects that are meant to attract attention, but the arrangement of shapes and colors on the surface. Cézanne developed the composition from individual dabs of color scattered across the canvas, from which the shape and volume of the subject gradually build up. Achieving the balance of these spots of color on the canvas requires a slow method of working, so Cézanne often worked on a painting for a long time.

After initially portraying only family members or friends, Cézanne”s better financial situation allowed him to engage a professional model, a young Italian named Michelangelo di Rosa, for the 1888-1890 portrait The Boy in the Red Vest, which is one of his most famous paintings. He was depicted in a total of four paintings and two watercolors.

Another famous painting from this period is The Smoker with Upright Arm (Le fumeur accoudé) from 1890. Fritz Wichert acquired the painting from Paul Cassirer in Berlin in 1912, against the staunch opposition of the city”s acquisition commission at the time, for the “Franzosensaal” he created at the Kunsthalle Mannheim. Cézanne painted five versions of the painting The Card Players (Les Joueurs de cartes) in the years 1890 and 1895, in which the same person is depicted in different variations.

For The Card Players, he used peasants and day laborers working in the fields near the Jas de Bouffan as models. These are not genre paintings, even though they show scenes from everyday life; the motif is constructed according to strict laws of color and form.

A turn to freely invented figures in the landscape determines many works of the late work, the so-called “lyrical period,” such as the cycle of bathers; Cézanne created about 140 paintings and sketches on the theme of bathing scenes. Here we find his reverence for classical painting, which seeks to unite man and nature in harmony in Arcadian idylls. In the last seven years he created three large-scale versions of The Great Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses), the largest being the 208 × 249 cm work exhibited in Philadelphia. Cézanne was concerned with composition and the interplay of forms and colors, nature and figures. For his paintings during this period, he used sketches and photographs as models, as he was not comfortable with the presence of nude models.

The area around the Montagne Sainte-Victoire mountain was one of the most important subject areas of his late years. From a vantage point above his studio, later called Terrain des Paintres, he painted several views of the mountain. Close observation of nature was a prerequisite for Cézanne”s painting: “To paint a landscape properly, I must also first recognize the geological stratification.” In all, he painted more than 30 oil paintings as well as 45 watercolors of the mountain, and he was always concerned with finding “constructions and harmonies parallel to nature.”

Cézanne was particularly concerned with watercolor painting in his late work, as it had become clear to him that the specific application of his means could be particularly manifestly demonstrated in this medium. The late watercolors also had an effect on his oil painting, for example in the Study with Bathers (1902-1906), in which a representation full of color-flanked “blanks” appears to be complete. Thus 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 watercolor had strongly influenced his painting with oil colors. The watercolors became known to a wider circle of interested people in Vollard”s Cézanne monograph of 1914 and in Julius Meier-Graefe”s picture portfolio edited in 1918 with ten facsimiles after the watercolors. Only lightly colored pencil studies, which occasionally appeared in sketch albums, stand next to carefully painted works. Many watercolors are equal to the realizations on canvas and form an autonomous group of works. In terms of subject matter, landscape watercolors dominate, followed by figure paintings and still lifes, while portraits, in contrast to paintings and drawings, are rarer.


As for antiquity and the old masters, for Cézanne the basis of painting is drawing, but the prerequisite of all work is subordination to the object, or the eye, or pure looking: “The painter”s whole will must be silent. He should let all voices of bias fall silent within him. Forget! Forget! Create silence! Be a perfect echo. The landscape reflects itself, humanizes itself, thinks itself in me. I climb with her to the roots of the world. We germinate. A tender excitement seizes me and from the roots of this excitement then the sap, the color rises. I am born to the real world. I see! To paint that then the craft must begin, but a humble craft that obeys and is ready to transmit unconsciously.”

As a methodologist of color, Cézanne left behind, in addition to oil paintings and watercolors, an extensive oeuvre of more than 1200 drawings, which, hidden in the cabinets and folders 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, observation notes, and after-drawings on Cézanne”s sometimes difficult-to-decipher stages on the way to realizing the picture. Their task, tied to the process of creation of the respective work, was to provide the overall structure and object designations within the pictorial organism. Even in his old age, he made portrait and figure drawings based on models from antique sculptures and Baroque paintings from the Louvre, which gave him clarity about the isolation of plastic appearances. Therefore, the black and white of the drawings formed an essential prerequisite for Cézanne”s creations from color.

Paul Cézanne was the first artist to begin breaking down objects into simple geometric shapes. In his frequently quoted letter of April 15, 1904 to the painter and art theorist Émile Bernard, who had met Cézanne in his last years, he wrote: “Treat nature according to cylinders, spheres and cones and bring the whole into the right perspective, so that each side of an object, of a surface leads to a central point In the work groups Montagne Sainte-Victoire and the Still Lifes, Cézanne realized his ideas of painting. Thus, in his conception of painting, even a mountain is conceived as a superimposition of forms, spaces, and structures rising above the ground.

Émile Bernard wrote of Cézanne”s unusual method of working: “He began with the shadow parts and with one stain, on which he placed a second, larger one, then a third, until all these hues, covering each other, modeled the object with their coloration. Then I understood that a law of harmony guided his work and that these modulations had a direction fixed in advance in his mind.” In this predetermined direction lies for Cézanne the real secret of painting in the connection between harmony and the illusion of depth. To the collector Karl Ernst Osthaus, on April 13, 1906, during the latter”s visit to Aix, Cézanne emphasized that the main thing in a painting was the meeting of distance. The color must express every leap into the depths. This shows the skill of the painter.

Going on the pattern, feeling and realization

Cézanne preferred to use these terms when describing his painting process. First, there is “motif,” by which he meant not only the representational concept of the image, but likewise the motivation for his tireless work of observation and painting. Aller sur le motif, as he called his walk to work, thus meant entering into a relationship with an external object that moved the artist inwardly and that had to be implemented pictorially.

Sensation is another key term in Cézanne”s vocabulary. First, he meant visual perception in the sense of “impression,” i.e., an optical sensory stimulus emanating from the object. At the same time, it encompasses emotion as a psychological reaction to what is perceived. Cézanne explicitly placed sensation, rather than the object to be depicted, at the center of his painterly endeavors: “To paint after nature is not to copy the object, it is to realize its sensations.” The medium that mediated between things and sensations was color, though Cézanne left open the extent to which it originated from things or was an abstraction of his vision.

Cézanne used the third term réalisation to describe the actual painterly activity, the failure of which he feared to the very 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 him, and finally the painting itself, whose realization could bring the other “realizations” to light. “Painting” meant, therefore, to let those opposing movements of taking in and giving out, of “impression” and “expression” merge into one another in a single gesture. Realization in art” became a key concept in Cézanne”s thoughts and actions.

Poussin after nature

“Imagine Poussin entirely recovered from nature,” Cézanne had commented to Joachim Gasquet, “that is the classicism to which I aspire.” Art historian Ernst Gombrich interpreted this quote on the occasion of Cézanne”s 100th death anniversary in 2006: “He saw his task as painting from nature, that is, making use of the discoveries of the Impressionists, and yet at the same time recovering the inner regularity and necessity that had distinguished Poussin”s art.”


The sometimes lengthy time indications for the creation in the œuvre catalogs do not always indicate that the dating cannot be clarified exactly, even though Cézanne hardly ever dated his paintings, especially since he worked on some pictures for months if not years until he was satisfied with the result. The artist himself considered many of his paintings unfinished, because painting was for him an incessant process.

The cataloging of Cézanne”s works turned out to be a difficult task. Lionello Venturi published the first catalog in 1936. Cézanne”s works were cataloged with his name; for example, the last painting Cézanne worked on, Gardener Vallier, is labeled “Venturi 718.” John Rewald continued Venturi”s work after his 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, and the historian Adrien Chappuis devoted himself to Cézanne”s drawings. His catalog The Drawings of Paul Cézanne – A Catalogue Raisonné was published by Thames and Hudson in London in 1973. Rewald”s Paul Cézanne – The Watercolours: A Catalog Raisonné was published by Thames and Hudson, London with 645 illustrations in 1983.

The lack of dating of the paintings (Rewald found only one in all) and imprecise formulations of the pictorial motif such as Paysage or Quelques pommes caused confusion. In his early treatment of the Venturi, Rewald made a list that included all works whose dating could be made without stylistic analysis, for Rewald rejected such analysis as unscientific. He continued his list by following the various whereabouts of Cézanne that could be verified by documents. Another scheme of his approach was to rely on the recollections of portrayed persons, especially if they were Cézanne”s contemporaries. Based on his own interviews, he made chronological assignments. Among the works that could be dated with certainty were Cézanne”s painting Portrait of the Critic Gustave Geffroy, which the sitter confirmed as 1895, and The Lake of Annecy, which the artist had visited only once, in 1896.

Rewald died in 1994, and he was unable to complete his work. 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 art dealer Walter Feilchenfeldt, and Jayne Warman, who completed the catalog and added introductions to it. The catalog was published in 1996 under the title The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonne – Review. It includes the 954 works that Rewald wanted to include.

Effect during lifetime

In 1897, the first purchase of a Cézanne painting for a museum was made 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 at the Couleuvre near Pontoise at the Galerie Durand-Ruel. Two more purchases of Cézanne”s still lifes followed in 1904 and 1906. Tschudi”s interest in the current French art movement can be traced back to the painter Max Liebermann, who had 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, remained reticent, which meant that their holdings later had to be replenished through donations and bequests in order to adequately represent their compatriot.

Cézanne”s childhood friend, the writer Émile Zola, was early skeptical of Cézanne”s human and artistic qualities, commenting as early as 1861 that “Paul may have the genius of a great painter, but will never possess the genius to actually become one. The smallest obstacle brings him to despair.” Indeed, 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.

Among the Impressionists, however, Cézanne”s work was given special recognition; Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, and Edgar Degas spoke enthusiastically of his work, and Pissarro commented, “I think centuries will pass before it is accounted for.”

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 Cézanne”s painting Still Life with Fruit on Easel amidst artist friends at the Galerie Vollard. Hommage à Cézanne originally belonged to Paul Gauguin and was later acquired by the French writer and friend of Denis, André Gide, who held it until 1928. Today it is on display at the Musée d”Orsay.

The first joint Impressionist exhibition in Paris in April

In 1883, the French writer Joris-Karl Huysmans responded by letter to Pissarro”s reproach that Cézanne was only briefly mentioned in Huysmans” book L”Art moderne by suggesting that Cézanne”s view of the motifs was distorted by astigmatism: ” but there is certainly an eye defect involved, of which I am assured he is also aware.” Five years later, his judgment in the magazine La Cravache became more positive when he described Cézanne”s works as “strange yet real” and a “revelation.”

The art dealer Ambroise Vollard first came into contact with Cézanne”s works in 1892 through the paint dealer Tanguy, who had exhibited them in his store on Rue Clauzel in Montmartre in return for a supply of painting utensils. Vollard recalled the lack of response: the store was rarely visited, he said, “since it was not yet fashionable at the time to buy the ”abominable works” expensively, or even cheaply.” Tanguy even took prospective buyers to the painter”s studio, to which he had a key, where small and 100 franc large paintings were available for purchase at the fixed price of 40 francs. The Journal des Artistes echoed the general tone of the time, asking anxiously whether its sensitive readers would not be stricken with nausea at the sight of “these oppressive abominations, which exceed the measure of the evil permitted by law.”

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 of Cézanne”s painting to the aspirations of younger artists, that Cézanne had become a kind of forerunner to whom the Symbolists referred, and that there was a direct connection between Cézanne”s painting and that of Gauguin, Bernard, and even Vincent van Gogh. A year later, after the successful exhibition at the Galerie Vollard in 1895, Geffroy again elaborated in the Journal, “He is a great fanatic of truth, fiery and naïve, austere and nuanced. He will go to the Louvre.” Between these two chronicles, Geffroy”s portrait, painted by Cézanne, had been created, but Cézanne left it in an unfinished state because he was not satisfied with it.

Posthumous effect

Two retrospectives paid tribute to the artist posthumously in 1907. From June 17 to 29, the Bernheim-Jeune Gallery in Paris showed 79 watercolors by Cézanne. The V Salon d”Automne then dedicated a tribute to him from October 5 to November 15, exhibiting 49 paintings and seven watercolors in two rooms at the Grand Palais. German visitors included art historian Julius Meier-Graefe, who would write the first biography of Cézanne 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 their insights that were decisive for the art of the 20th century.

In 1910, some of Cézanne”s paintings were shown in the exhibition Manet and the Post-Impressionists in London (another followed in 1912). The exhibition had been initiated by painter and art critic Roger Fry at the Grafton Galleries, which sought to introduce English art enthusiasts 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 viewed negatively by critics and the public, it was to become significant in the history of modern art. Fry recognized the extraordinary value of the path that artists like van Gogh and Cézanne had taken in expressing their personal feelings and worldview through their paintings, even if visitors at the time could not yet comprehend it. Cézanne”s first exhibition in the United States took place in 1910

The reception of Cézanne”s works and his supposed intentions concealed many “productive” misunderstandings that had a considerable influence on the further course and development of modern art. Thus, the list of those artists who more or less justifiably referred to him and transformed individual elements from the wealth of his creative approaches for their own pictorial inventions shows an almost gapless art history of the 20th century. Already Apollinaire stated in 1910 that “most of the new painters claim to be successors of this serious painter, who was 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 Galerie Bernheim-Jeune and a retrospective in October 1907 at the Salon d”Automne in Paris, a lively discussion of his work began. Among the young French artists, Matisse and Derain were the first to be seized by the passion for Cézanne, followed by Picasso, Fernand Léger, Georges Braque, Marcel Duchamp, and Piet Mondrian. This enthusiasm was lasting, so even the eighty-year-old Matisse expressed in 1949 that he owed the most to the art of Cézanne. Further, Braque called Cézanne”s influence on his art an “initiation,” commenting in 1961, “Cézanne was the first to turn away from the learned mechanized perspective.” Picasso confessed, “he was the only master for me …, he was a father figure for us: it was he who gave us shelter.”

The Cézanne expert Götz Adriani notes, however, that the Cubist reception of Cézanne – in particular that of the Salon Cubists Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger, who in their 1912 treatise Du cubisme placed Cézanne at the beginning of their style of painting – was on the whole quite arbitrary. Thus they largely disregarded the motivation derived from the observation of nature. In this context, he points out the formalist misinterpretations that refer to the 1907 paper published by Bernard. Here it is said, among other things, “one treats nature according to cylinder, sphere and cone”. Further misinterpretations of this kind can be found in the text “On the New Systems in Art” published by Malevich in 1919. In his quotation, for example, Cézanne did not intend a reinterpretation of the experience of nature in the sense of an orientation to cubic form elements; rather, he was concerned with corresponding to the object forms and their colorfulness under the various aspects in the picture.

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

The artists just mentioned are only the beginning of a series of inspired. The painter Paula Modersohn-Becker, who died at an early age, had already seen Cézanne”s paintings at Vollard in 1900, which had deeply impressed her. She wrote in a letter dated October 21, 1907, from Worpswede to Clara Westhoff shortly before her death: “I think and thought strongly these days of Cézanne and how that is one of the three or four forces of painting that has had an effect on me like a thunderstorm or a great event.” Paul Klee noted in his diary in 1909, “Cézanne is a teacher par excellence for me,” after seeing more than a dozen paintings by Cézanne at the Munich Secession. The artists” group Der Blaue Reiter referred to him in their 1912 almanac, in which Franz Marc spoke of the affinity in spirit between El Greco and Cézanne, each of whose works he saw as the gateway to a new epoch in painting. Again, Kandinsky, who had seen Cézanne”s paintings at the 1907 retrospective at the Salon d”Automne, referred to Cézanne in his 1912 essay “On the Spiritual in Art,” in whose work he recognized a “strong resonance of the abstract” and found the spiritual component of his convictions given in him. Max Beckmann, in his 1912 paper Gedanken über zeitgemäße und unzeitgemäße Kunst (Thoughts on Contemporary and Untimely Art), saw in Cézanne a genius just like Franz Marc. El Lissitzky emphasized his importance for the Russian avant-garde around 1923, and Lenin suggested in 1918 that monuments be erected to the heroes of the world revolution; Courbet and Cézanne were on the honor roll.

Along with Matisse, Alberto Giacometti was most closely involved with Cézanne”s representational style. Aristide Maillol worked on a monument to Cézanne in 1909, but it was rejected by the city council of Aix-en-Provence. Cézanne was also an important authority for artists of the newer generation. Jasper Johns, for example, described him as the most important role model alongside Duchamp and Leonardo da Vinci. A. R. Penck, in turn, pointed to Cézanne”s conceptual achievements and emphasized: “What we call underground today also begins with Cézanne. The assertion of a space and a goal of one”s own against the prevailing tendency of the time.” In 1989, the Dane Per Kirkeby, in dealing with Cézanne”s works, expressed that here was one who had “given his artistic life as a pledge for something that makes most of what we usually deal with appear as anxious addiction to originality and superficiality.”

The German artist Willi Baumeister, who had originally created figurative works influenced by Impressionism, turned his interest as early as around 1910 to Cubism and Paul Cézanne, whose work he remained associated with throughout his life. In the introduction to a portfolio of paintings on Cézanne published in 1947, he stated, “There are two inflection angles in the history of recent art. One diffraction angle is between Cimabue and Giotto. The second inflection angle in the history of art is with Cézanne. It begins the turning away from the ”true to nature image” and the turning to the independent creation of form and color. If you enlarge certain parts of Cézanne”s paintings, you notice a rhythmic structure that can be called cubist and that cubism adopted.”

“When I remember how alienated and uncertain one saw the first things,” Rainer Maria Rilke wrote to his wife after viewing the great Cézanne retrospective at the Paris Salon d”Automne of 1907, to which Paula Modersohn-Becker had drawn his attention, ” for a long time nothing and suddenly one has the right eyes.” With this statement, Rilke made clear his great interest in painting, from which he hoped to find solutions to his problems as a writer: “It is not painting at all that I study . It is the turn in that painting that I recognized because I had just achieved it myself in my work.” In Cézanne, he saw how “mood painting” could be overcome. This corresponded to his conception of poetry, which was already realized in The New Poems. After the exhibition, he continued Der Neuen Gedichte anderer Teil, in which the application of the principle of “factual saying” becomes clear in the poem Die Flamingos. The fact that Rilke was not the only modernist author for whom the question of the different forms and functions of images and pictoriality in literature took on central importance becomes clear, among other things, in the impact on literature around 1900, for example, in the works of Hugo von Hofmannsthal with the “penetration of color into language”.

Peter Handke sums up in his book Die Lehre der Sainte-Victoire (The Doctrine of the 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, and even the asphalted road appeared to me as a substance of color so I probably saw them from the beginning as mere accessories and did not expect anything decisive from them for a long time.” In his book, Handke succeeds in bringing an author closer to the visual arts through the art-theoretical references of Cézanne”s view of reality embedded in the text.

The French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard states in his work The Misery of Philosophy that Cézanne has, so to speak, the Sixth Sense: he feels the reality in the making before it is completed in normal perception. The painter thus touches the sublime, when he sees the overwhelming of the mountain landscape, which can be represented neither with the normal language nor with the usual painting technique. Lyotard sums up: “One can also say that the uncanniness of the oil paintings and watercolors dedicated to mountains and fruits derives both from a deep sense of the disappearance of appearances and from the demise of the visible world.”

Movies about Cézanne

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 handed down by his admirer Joachim Gasquet. The film describes a walk by Cézanne in the Louvre along the paintings of his fellow artists.

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, respectively, have been re-released. The Triumph of Cézanne was reshot for the anniversary year 2006.

The Violence of the Motif, 1995. A film by Alain Jaubert. A mountain near his hometown of Aix-en-Provence becomes Cézanne”s main motif. Over 80 times he shows La Montagne Sainte-Victoire from different perspectives, at different times of the year. The motif becomes an obsession, which Jaubert gets to the bottom of in his film.

Cézanne – the painter, 2000. A film by Elisabeth Kapnist. The story of a passion and a lifelong artistic quest: 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 emergence of a legend. Cézanne met with rejection and incomprehension before he was allowed to ascend 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

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

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

During his lifetime, a large part of the inhabitants of Aix had mocked their fellow citizen Cézanne. In more recent times, they even named a university after their world-famous artist: In 1973, it was founded in Aix-en-Provence, the University Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III with the departments of law and political science, business administration, and 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 to present to visitors Cézanne, the son of their city. In 1984, the museum received eight paintings and some watercolors, including a motif from the Bathers series and a portrait of Mme Cézanne. Thanks to another donation in 2000, nine paintings by Cézanne are now exhibited there.

Cézanne”s works on the current art market

The increase in value that Cézanne”s paintings have achieved on the art market is evident from the result of an auction held in New York on May 10, 1999: The Still Life with Curtain, Jug, and Fruit Bowl was sold at auction for $60.5 million. At the time, it was the highest sum ever paid for a painting by Cézanne. The auction house Sotheby”s had estimated the value of the painting at only 25 to 35 million dollars.

A similar development is represented by the auction of his watercolor Nature morte au melon vert; 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 period between 1902 and 1906 shows a green melon. Originally, the sale price had been estimated at 14 to 18 million dollars.

In spring 2011, his work The Card Players – one of five versions – was reportedly sold for $275 million. The exact sum and the new owner are not yet known. That would be the highest price ever achieved by a painting at that time.

A watercolor from the Card Player series, thought lost for nearly 60 years, was auctioned on May 1, 2012 to an equally anonymous bidder in New York for $19 million.

Secondary literature

Directories of works:

Cézanne in the Crime Novel:



  1. Paul Cézanne
  2. Paul Cézanne
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