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Art and Images in Psychiatry
January 2006

The Artist's Father

Author Affiliations


Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006;63(1):13. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.63.1.13

When you take up your brushes: “My son, my son,” says your father, “think of the future. One dies with genius but eats with money.”—Letter from Zola to Cézanne characterizing Cézanne's father, December 30, 18591(p77)

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) is recognized as the father of abstract art and the modern art movement.2 His emphasis on natural forms and geometric structure influenced a new generation of artists and served as models for Fauvism and Cubism. He was a sensitive, temperamental man who spoke with a thick Provence accent, introspective and emotionally volatile, proud but lacking in self-confidence. The eldest of 3 children, he was born in Aix-en-Provence, France. His father, Louis-Auguste Cézanne, was a self-made man, a successful dealer and exporter of felt hats who had opened a bank and become prosperous. He hoped that his son would follow in his footsteps at the family bank, which he would rename Cézanne and Son.

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