Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
Paul Cézanne was born in Aix-en Province, the son of a French banker. In 1861 he abandoned his study of law to join his boyhood friend, Emile Zola (a writer) in Paris as a student at the Academie Suisse. He soon returned to Aix to work at his father's bank as a clerk. In November 1862 he returned to Paris and from that day onwards he was committed to his art. He joined the circle of the Café Geurboise which included Zola, Pissaro, Manet, Degas, Renoir and Monet. His career did not develop as he wasn't easy to know and like. In 1874 he exhibited three canvasses at the first Impressionist exhibition, but they attracted little but ridicule from the critics. His painting however had its admirers. Dr. Gachet, a friend of the Impressionists, bought several canvasses. His most important patron after 1875 was Victor Choquet, who not only had his portrait painted several times, but acquired more than thirty-five works by Cézanne. In 1877, at his only other exhibition with the Impressionists, Cézanne showed 16 works which were all hung together in the main room. Due to his nature and temperament it wouldn't be surprising if Cézanne had been a recluse, but he made regular visits to Paris from Aix and he met both Monet and Renoir on their visits south. Cézanne was in his late fifties when he finally achieved critical acclaim. In 1904, the Salon d'Automme devoted a room to his works. In his last years Cézanne became a more solitary person. His wife and son lived mostly in Paris whilst he remained in Aix, thinking only of his work and failing health. Cézanne had had virtually no public life of career as recognition of his greatness came too late. In 1906 he was caught in a storm when he was out painting and in the days that followed he became desperately ill. Paul Cézanne died on October 22nd 1906.
Samuel John Peploe (1871-1935)
Peploe was born in 1871. His father was a banker and they were comfortably well off, but his father died in 1884 when Peploe was just 14 years old. His uncle obtained a post for him at a law firm, but Peploe insisted studying art and enrolled at the Edinburgh School of Art. He then moved to Paris in 1894 to continue his studies. There is a group of his early works, mostly studio studies and still-life's, characterised by dark tones and limited colour, but strong brush brushwork. He was very influenced by Manet, as can be seen in "Coffee and Liqueur", but his figures are more original. In 1903, Peploe held his first one man exhibition in Edinburgh and it was a great success. The spectacular series of still-life like, "The Black Bottle" (1903) and "Still Life with a Coffee Pot" followed a visit to Paris in 1990. In both pictures, he uses a sparkling white tablecloth against a dark background. Then he uses brilliant colour against this simple tonal contrast. The use of still-life's, which was new to Scottish painting, shows that his inspiration still lay in Manet. From 1904, Peploe worked part of each summer in France, visiting his close friend Fergusson. He married in 1910 and moved to live in Paris for two years. During this decade he had become interested in the work of Van Gogh and "The Fauves" and in painting based on pure colour. His paintings were rather different though, because although he did outdoor landscapes, he also did studio paintings, which are flooded with light, but it is the cool, northern light of blues, greens and whites. Paintings such as "Boats at Royan"...