Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne was considered an avant-garde painter in the 19th century. His style was characterized by heavy brush strokes, skewed perspectives, and vibrant colors — a far cry from the conventional and widely-accepted techniques of his time.

Society’s rejection of Cézanne’s artistry came in many forms:

His submissions to The Salon, an annual state-sponsored art competition, were consistently rejected.

His application to the École des Beaux-Arts, a famous art academy in Paris, was also rejected.

Instead of altering his style to gain the acceptance of his peers, Cézanne persisted with creating art in the only way he knew how — famously remarking, “I paint as I see, as I feel.”

The maintenance of his artistic integrity may sound like an act of bravery at first, but at its core might be better described as an act of remarkable vulnerability.

Despite popular opinion, Cézanne chose to continue to wear his identity — his values — on his sleeve through his work. It was his way of saying ‘this is me —this is my art — take it or leave it.’

There’s something undeniably empowering about this stance — the kind one takes when the world tells them to find something that matters and they confidently respond, “I already have”.

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William Liao

William Liao

Taiwanese American, daily blogger of ideas about impactful work in service of others, photographer (ephemera.photography)