Cezanne painted this self-portrait when he was around 36 years old. A serious look, perhaps of concentration, is on his face, and he wears a heavy, dark overcoat. A patchwork-like background of pink, cream and white shapes is behind him, suggestive of terracotta or abstracted brickwork. Cezanne painted 26 self-portraits during his career.
Portrait of the Artist with a Pink Background
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Date of work
Paul Cezanne Portrait of the Artist with a Pink Background c. 1875 Oil on canvas 66 x 55 cm Photo © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée national Picasso-Paris) / Mathieu Rabeau
Paul Cezanne (1839 – 1906) was a French artist who played a pivotal role in the development of modern art. As a Post-Impressionist painter, he developed his own characteristic style, with exploratory brushstrokes and close study of his subjects, painting still lifes, landscapes and portraits. Though he did not achieve much recognition until his later years, his practice had a lasting effect on modern painting, with both Matisse and Picasso among the many artists that cite him as an influence. In 1924, Tate became the first public museum in the United Kingdom to acquire Cezanne’s paintings, and they remain an important part of the collection.