Madame Cézanne with Green HatPaul Cézanne, c. 1891–1892
Paul Cézanne was an influential, French Post-Impressionist who insisted that painting remain true to its virtually sculptural, material origins. Art historians credit Cézanne’s visual and conceptual methods with paving the way for Modernism’s emergence in the 20th century. His work constitutes an essential link between the ephemeral aspects of Impressionism and later, more materialist movements like Fauvism, Expressionism, and complete abstraction. Picasso once explained that Cézanne’s technique “passage”—blending small, angled planes of color to denote space and form—was crucial to Cubism’s formation, and called the painter his “one and only master.” Cézanne’s bright, flat forms fitted onto compressed backgrounds that still maintain perspective’s logic make his paintings blatantly identifiable.