In his early adolescence, Paul Cezanne made a conscious decision, along with his friend Emile Zola, to pursue success as an artist in Paris. At the behest of his father, Cezanne studied law at the same time as art. As an artist, he is considered one of the forefathers of modern art, influencing the Cubists and Fauvists among other avant-garde painters.
The nude figures that appear in paintings such as Bathers were painted largely from Cezanne's imagination; he hardly ever employed nude models for his work.
Despite his clear early ambition to become an influential figure in the Parisian art scene, Cezanne was uncomfortable living there. He would often return home to Aix-en-Provence, preferring its tranquility. Much of his work showed signs of his preference for rural environments.
His early career had been marked by self-doubt, at one point driving him to seek work in his father's banking house. Later, Cezanne's experimental flair was scorned by his contemporaries and rejected for exhibition by Salons. However, he was supported by Impressionists such as Pisarro, as well as his childhood friend, writer Emile Zola.
Towards the end of his life, however, the Salons began to embrace the artist. Cezanne died in Aix-en-Provence in 1906 and was celebrated the following year at the Salon d'Automne.