This innovator who would influence a new way of art during the XXth century was born in Aix-en-Provence in early 1839. He studied at school and then enrolled at the Borbon School in 1852, where he met and became a close friend of Emile Zola, with whom he shared cultural interests. In 1856 he registered at the School of drawing of Joseph Gilbert. When Zola returned to Paris, Cezanne followed him.
It is then that Cezanne's vocation started to flourish. In 1862 and 1863 he exhibited his paintings at the " Hall of the Rejected " and he alternated his sojourns in the south and north of France. In 1869 he met Hortense Fiquet, with whom he had a son, and married her in 1886. He followed Camille Pissarro, whom he greatly admired, to Pontoise and settled at Auvers-sur-Oise where he stayed until 1874. During this last year he exhibited some paintings together with other Impressionists. He again participated with this group in the Third Exhibition that they organized. In 1882, a portrait that he painted was accepted to be exhibited at an official exhibition.
His friendship with Zola, a master of literary realism, became even stronger to the extent that Zola became one of the most prestigious art critics of Paris and thus, a defendant of Cezanne each time that the painter was rejected from exhibition halls. Nevertheless, the aggressive personality of Zola turned against Cezanne when his criticisms tried to modify the artistic decisions of Cezanne. The friendship broke up in 1886, the year in which Cezanne moved to Chantilly and then to his beloved birthplace Aix, where he produced his best works. Many of his paintings of that period are unfinished, because like Michelangelo, he abandoned them once the "problem" that he tried to solve in his work was achieved.
In 1894 he visited Monet, and there he met Rodin and the writer Geffroy. In 1895, Vollard, with whom he had become a good friend, organized an individual exhibition at the Gallery of the Rue-Lafitte in Paris. His fame was increasing and he was well known among the younger artists.
He was a member of the group of Impressionists, admirer of Monet and the more so of Pissarro, whose friendship continued throughout their lives. He then decided to leave the School as he thought that the passionate search for light had led to a loss of the drawing in itself and had deformed his images to the extent that he qualified them as "delinquent". He proclaimed the need to return once again to more precise drawing and declared that he would only paint " Museum Paintings ". His structures of geometric tone - "the forms of nature are always cubes, cones and cylinders" (as he wrote in a letter to Bertrand) - presage the art of the XXth century, and particularly Cubism.
Between 1895 and 1904 he travelled to Talloires, Lake Annecy, Fontainebleau and Montgeroult. He exhibited in Brussels and in 1905, 10 of his paintings were exhibited in the hall of Autumn.
He suffered a stroke and died while painting in 1906.