Paul Cézanne was born in Cesana, in what is now West Piedmont, France, in 1839 to prosperous parents, and first learned to draw at age 10, around the time he formed a close friendship with novelist Emile Zola.
Cézanne's works are regarded as spanning the period from Impressionism to Cubism, and are regarded as being some of the most influential of the late 19th century.
Cézanne's most famous works are landscapes and especially still lifes. A notable example is soon to be presented at Sotheby's auction of Impressionist and Modern Art on February 3. Cézanne's Pichet et Fruits sur une Table is expected to sell for up to £15m.
Cézanne's works didn't disappoint auctioneers in 2009. A page of Cézanne studies doubled its £60,000 top estimate in London in February, swiftly followed by a €2,081,000 sale of La montagne Sainte-Victoire vue des Lauves - one of his last works.
Likewise, one of his early, less accomplished, works Moulin á l'Huile surpassed its $400,000-600,000 range to be taken home from Christie's at $698,500. But the £15m still life is a much more interesting test. It might even be added to Paul Allen's vast but secret art collection, as the billionaire is thought to have a taste for Cézanne's work.
Regardless, the longevity of Cézanne's works is assured. Few artists have a quote attached to their name as impressive as Cézanne, as he was described by Picasso and Matisse as being 'the father of us all'.