Post image

Cézanne: from pathological perfectionist to father of post-impressionism

Cézanne was born in 1839 in Aix-en-Provence, and moved to Paris in 1861 to study art. There he met Camille Pissarro, with whom he developed a close friendship and artistic collaboration. Together they explored the possibilities of color, light and form, and created works that broke with academic conventions and anticipated the birth of Cubism.

Paul Cézanne was a perfectionist when it came to his art. The French Impressionist painter was so stressed by his work that he was often known to tear canvases and destroy them. When painting outdoors, some of these paintings would end up being thrown into the bushes by the frustrated artist. He was once seen trying to retrieve a painting from a large tree after he had calmed down.

The Musée d'Orsay, which, along with the Louvre, is one of the most famous and visited museums in Paris, houses an impressive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works. Among them, the paintings of Paul Cézanne, one of the most influential and innovative artists of his time, stand out.

At the Musée d'Orsay you can admire some of Cézanne's best works, covering different genres and stages of his career. Among them are The Card Players (between 1890 and 1895): a series of five paintings depicting everyday scenes of peasants playing cards in a tavern. Cézanne simplified shapes and colors, and created a balanced and harmonious composition.

Cézanne is considered the father of post-impressionism, an artistic movement that sought to go beyond the naturalistic representation of light and color to explore personal expression and form. His work influenced artists such as Picasso, Matisse and Braque, who admired his use of geometry and perspective.

However, Cézanne was not always recognized for his talent and originality. For much of his life, he suffered rejection from critics and the public, which increased his insecurity and pathological perfectionism. Despite having friends like Monet and Renoir, he felt misunderstood and isolated. His irascible and demanding character also caused him problems with his family and his mistress.

Another work that shows the painter's obsession with perfection was Apples and Oranges (1899): a still life showing a table with fruit, plates and a pitcher. Cézanne played with perspective and geometry, and created an effect of depth and volume with the contrast of warm and cold tones.

Cézanne dedicated his life to his art, but was never satisfied with its results. His relentless pursuit of perfection led him to create masterpieces, but also to suffer great anguish. His legacy is that of an incomparable genius, but also of a man tormented by his own demons.

If you want to learn more about other works by Cezanne, we recommend "Musée d'Orsay Art Guide", our book about the museum that houses the largest amount of Impressionist work in the world, as well as a must-have art guide to discover and learn the essentials of the great works, artists and styles of the Musée de l'Orsay, soon available on Amazon.