Born in Aix-en-Provence, Cezanne was the son of a banker. Initially studying law, he abandoned his studies in favor of the Académie Suisse in Paris where he was to meet fellow artist Camille Pissarro. Returning briefly to his hometown in 1861 following a period of artistic disillusion, he worked as a bank clerk before returning to Paris the following year to recommence his artistic career.
Producing artwork throughout his lifetime that was often ill received, Cezanne exhibited at the very first Impressionist show in 1874 showing amongst others, 'The Modern Olympia' - a piece that was to meet with much disapproval. However, as his style developed so did its reception and by the time of the third Impressionist exhibition in 1877, Cezanne had at least the high praise of one outspoken critic. Stating that he wanted 'to make of Impressionism something solid and durable, like the art of the Museums' the artist's style was to develop into the early formation of Cubism, though Cezanne himself was no theorist on the matter.
The death of his father in 1886 enabled Cezanne to live the remainder of his life in comfort and relative solitude in Provence. He finally achieved his first large solo show in 1895 and for the last years of his life enjoyed a level of high profile artistic recognition that continues to grow even now.