Master Cubist Picasso is believed to have said, “Paul Cézanne is the father of us all,” a line meant to state that Paul Cézanne was the original cubist. As we view Cézanne’s journey of life, we see him moving away from his first brush with realism and Expressionism, to his exploration of Impressionism until we see his art simplifying its lines and colors, and we see the roots of Cubism forming.

Among the artists whom he admired in his initial years were the realists – and in that admiration, I feel the heart of a new experimenter – a young artist automatically drawn toward realism. If you look at his early works (such as The Overture that his painted in his late twenties,) you’ll see a similarity with the works of Gustave Courbet (in the dark, earthy tones – and the look and feel of the work.)

I’ve always been drawn to the works and lives of the Parisian artists. Possibly because they’ve all displayed the courage to move away from the beaten path. Everyone in their own ways, including Claude Monet. This is probably the reason why I had painted Paul Cézanne’s portrait. (Below.)

Paul Cezanne French post impressionist father of cubism - life portrait in oil on canvas by Shafali R. Anand

Paul Cézanne Life Portrait (2022) by Shafali R. Anand (Med: Oil on Canvas, Size: 30″x36″)

This Life Portrait of Paul Cézanne, traces his journey from his crush on realism with the dark and earthy hues to his discovery of own style (The Bay of Marseilles, view from L’Estaque done in 1885, and The Basket of Apples
1890–1894 – both paintings are with The Art Institute of Chicago.) at the age of about sixty, when his art was maturing into the early version of cubism, and inspiring Picasso.

End Note: The turbulence in this painting of Cézanne’s life is mine – it tints Paul Cézanne’s life with colors that I absorbed in mine.

(The work was displayed at my art show “Turbulence” held in 2022 at the Romain Rolland Art Gallery, Alliance Française de Delhi.)