Paul Cézanne, the Post-Impressionist master, was born in Aix-en Provence where he received his formal education as a classmate of Emile Zola. Cézanne, whose banker father wished him to study law, did not arrive in Paris until 1861 although he had studied drawing in Aix and showed considerable ability. While studying at the Academie Suisse, Cézanne met Pissarro who was to influence him greatly. When he failed the entrance examinations for the Beaux-Arts, however, he returned to Aix. After working for a year in his father's bank and painting in his spare time, he returned to Paris (1862-64).
His school friend Emile Zola introduced him to Manet, Renoir, Bazille, and Degas, and Cézanne began working with these artists. Between 1864 and 1890 Cézanne lived in Paris, its environs and in the region around Aix until diabetes forced him to retire permanently to Aix. Early in his career, Cézanne admired Caravaggio, Courbet, and Delacroix, and his paintings until 1868 were romantic or baroque in style, dark in colour, and classical in subject. During the period 1868-72, Manet's influence may be noted in added clarity and solidity of form.
During his Impressionist period (1872-79) his palette lightened and, following Pissarro's example, he approached nature with greater simplicity. Throughout the years that he exhibited with the Impressionists, Cézanne held the unhappy distinction of being the most derided member of the group. He liked his own work no better than the critics or the public. In 1880, however, he began to develop his own theory and style of painting. It is a style based on the reduction of every object in nature to the cone, the cylinder or the cube. He achieved a three-dimensional architectural effect by deliberately alternating warm and cool tones and by using a dark outline around objects.
All modern art stems, either directly or indirectly, from Cézanne: Symbolism, Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, and Abstract Expressionism. He immediately affected the work of Gauguin, van Gogh, Picasso, and Braque who, in turn, have influenced countless others.