In 1861, two years after matriculating, he abandoned the course and moved to Paris. For a brief period, he studied at the Atelier Suisse with Camille Pissarro, and in the capital, he became close friends with Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. His paintings were rejected by the official Paris Salon, so he, like many of his contemporaries, participated in the 1863 Salon des Refusés.
Although he never fully aligned with Impressionism, Cezanne did show paintings at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. In the canvases of these years, he built up luminous colour and began to paint en plein air, as seen in Bathers (1874–75), which combines the radiance of natural light with figures drawn from his imagination. It was during this decade that Cezanne began to probe the relationship between colour and form. This would come to be the central question of his oeuvre.
Following the onset of the Franco-Prussian War, Cezanne left Paris for the south. He began to paint landscapes in and around Aix and of l’Estaque, near Marseille. It was here that Cezanne developed his analytical approach to painting, in which he sought to show depth through colour and geometry. ‘Everything in nature,’ he observed, ‘is modelled after the sphere, the cone, and the cylinder. One must learn to paint from these simple figures.’ While his studies of Mont Sainte-Victoire demonstrate his dedication to geometric representation, Cezanne experimented in his studio as well as in works such as Apples (1878–79) and Le panier de pommes (c.1893), among others.
By the start of the 20th century, Cezanne was exhibiting widely and internationally, an important figure to legions of artists including Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Marcel Duchamp. Cezanne would live in the south of France until his death in 1906.
L'homme à la pipe (Étude pour un joueur de cartes) ( recto ); Père Alexandre ( verso )
Route tournante ( recto ); La Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue des lauves ( verso )