French painter Cézanne, along with Gauguin and van Gogh, was a key figure in the development of 20th-century art and is counted among the greatest of the Post-Impressionists. He was born at Aix-en-Provence, the son of a hat dealer who became a prosperous banker. His financial security enabled him to survive the indifference to his work that lasted until the final decade of his life.
His schoolfellow, Emile Zola, introduced him to Manet and Courbet and persuaded him to take up the study of art in Paris. His painting at the time was in a vein of unreserved Romanticism, reflecting his admiration for Delacroix, with a predilection for themes of violence or eroticism. In 1869 he met Hortense Fiquet, a model who became his mistress and bore him a son, Paul. He kept them a secret from his domineering father - but eventually married Hortense in 1886.
From about 1870 Cézanne started painting directly from nature and began to impose a more disciplined restraint on his natural impetuosity. In 1872 he settled in Auverssur-Oise, near Pontoise, the home of Camille Pissarro, and entered upon a fruitful association with him - in the last year of his life he described himself as a pupil of Pissarro. He exhibited with the Impressionists in 1874 and again in 1877, but never identified himself with the group. Cézanne was less interested in the realistic representation of casual and fleeting impressions, devoting himself rather to the structural analysis of nature, looking forward in this respect to the Neo-Impressionists.
Only eight prints by him are known. Five are etchings, which were created while staying with Dr. Gachet in 1873. The other three are lithographs and were all made for Vollard in 1896–97.