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Status, price and estimation of the artist Paul Cézanne

Average price of a signed painting: 300,000 – 50,000,000€.

Estimate of a drawing or watercolour by the artist for auction: 15,000 – 600,000€.

Selling price of a lithograph: 80 – 15,000€.

Who is Paul Cézanne?

Paul Cézanne was a French painter, member of the Impressionist movement and the main precursor of Post-Impressionism and Cubism. He was a great innovator in his pictorial techniques, and is today considered the father of modern French art. From 1857 onwards, he took drawing lessons at the École d’Aix, then in 1860, he moved to Paris and attempted the entrance exam for the School of Fine Arts, which he failed because his use of colour was considered to be too excessive.

In Paris, he stayed for a time with Émile Zola, his childhood friend. They both grew up in Aix. Cézanne obtained his copyist’s card at the Louvre, which enabled him to learn from the greatest masters, notably Nicolas Poussin. During this time, he also met Camille Pissaro, Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley, with whom he founded the Société Anonyme Coopérative des Artistes Peintres in 1873. He also met his wife, Hortense Fiquet. They then settled in Auvers-sur-Oise and painted over 45 portraits together. She was also a regular model for Pissaro and Renoir. Cézanne, a very prolific artist, painted about 900 paintings and 400 watercolours, which are now exhibited in the world’s greatest museums.

The “couillarde” and Impressionist periods

Cézanne’s first period, between 1862 and 1870, is known as the Couillarde period, coming from the French “couille” meaning testicle. That is to say Cézanne’s work at this time was crude, or even “ballsy” in modern terms. He generally painted directly with his fingers and his paintings, inspired by the great masters, had a rather dark palette and a thick touch. For example, the first version of Une moderne Olympia, 1869, dates from this period.

Then, Cézanne became closer to the Impressionists even though he lived in Auvers-sur-Oise near Pissaro. He painted La maison du pendu, 1873, Musée d’Orsay, in which other preoccupations were already apparent, more concerned with volume than with the effects of light. In 1874, during his first Impressionist exhibition, he presented three paintings that scandalised the public. He exhibited again with the Impressionists in 1876. His research on space, composition, geometry and the relationship between shapes and colours is mainly done in his still life paintings, where the apple still holds an essential place, as in Apples and Oranges, 1895-1900, Musée d’Orsay. It was also at this time that he began his famous cycle on the mountain Ste Victoire, painted over eighty times; this was an opportunity to go further in his research into plein air painting.

Peer recognition and becoming a role model to the younger generation

From 1888 onwards, Cézanne began to gain recognition, and in 1889 he was admitted to the Paris Universal Exhibition and exhibited at the Salon des XX in Brussels. As early as 1895, he was considered to be “the precursor of another art” by Gustave Geffroy. It was also the time when he painted his The Card Players, a kind of genre scene where time seems suspended. He also did portraits that generally represent his friends, such as Ambroise Vollard, or people of little means, such as gardeners.

As early as 1899, Paul Signac published D’Eugene Delacroix au néo-impressionnisme, and analysed Cézanne’s pictorial technique, claiming credit for his work. The same year Ambroise Vollard, who had already bought paintings from the painter, bought his entire studio. The following year, Maurice Denis painted his Hommage à Cézanne. In 1904, Cézanne advised painter Émile Bernard to “treat nature through the cylinder, the sphere, the cone, put everything in perspective”. This hugely famous phrase would nourish the productions of generations of artists. Towards the end of his life, Cézanne painted a cycle of Baigneuses (Bathers), which are mainly kept in American museums.

Cézanne’s reception

Following his death in 1906, the Salon d’Automne devoted a retrospective of 56 works to him, which confirmed the considerable influence that the painter would have on the Cubist, Expressionist and Russian avant-garde movements. His influence is still claimed by contemporary painters today. Researchers have also paid close attention to the painter’s production and since 2015 there has been the Eilchenfeldt-Warman-Nash catalogue, a catalogue raisonné of Cézanne’s works available online. As for the artist’s standing on the art market, it is obviously extremely high, as evidenced by the auction record for the artist: over 250 million dollars for The Card Players, destined for the new Doha museum.

Recognising Paul Cézanne’s signature

Like many artists, Paul Cézanne did not sign all of his works. However, you will find below an example of a signature in order to give you a first idea. Variations of this signature exist: do not hesitate to contact one of our experts to authenticate a signature in a formal way.

expertise signature cezanne

Appraising and selling a painting by Paul CÉZANNE

If you own a painting or any other sculpture by Paul CÉZANNE, ask for a free estimate via our online form.

You will then be contacted by a member of our team of experts and auctioneers to give you an independent view of the market price of your painting. In the event of a sale, our specialists will also advise you on the various options available to sell your work at the best price.