Saturday, June 13, 2009

BF(F)s: Paul and Emile

"Me, I dare...I dare. I have the courage of my opinions. He laughs best who laughs last."
--Paul Cezanne

"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, I will answer you: I am here to live out loud." --Emile Zola

While I was moving into my new room, I found a paper that I'd written in the 9th grade. It was a biography of Paul Cezanne, the painter, and a fairly large portion of it centered around Cezanne's friendship with writer Emile Zola. Reading the paper again, I can remember why I found their friendship so touching. Here were two weird guys who encouraged each other when few others did. I think I could also relate to Cezanne-- not to his artistic talent ( I can draw in perspective, that's about it), but to his lack of relation with mainstream society and his desire to express himself in his own way. If you'll pardon me quoting my 14-year-old self:

Without a doubt, the largest and most profound influence on Paul Cezanne's life was Emile Zola. Boyhood friends, they remained friends for most of their lives. Even when they were separated-- Zola in Paris and Cezanne in Aix, they corresponded with letters. Their correspondence lasted many years, and the number of letters written between them fill whole books. Zola was probably the biggest reason why Cezanne started to paint. Zola recognized his friend's talent, and urged and urged Cezanne to paint...

Like Cezanne with his paintings, Zola was criticized for his different style of expression-- he was very realist, not omitting one morbid detail of life. However, while critics hated his work, the public loved it. Zola became famous much faster than Cezanne. He also became rich. Feeling that they had nothing in common anymore, Cezanne stopped seeing Zola in 1885. Until that time, though, they were the largest influences in both of their lives.

Not all friendships endure forever or end well, unfortunately. Zola also hastened the end of the friendship by writing a not-so-complimentary character based on Cezanne. Dude, really? It's sad that this partnership was killed by money, fame, and the egos of both men. But I think it's better to have loved and lost. If Cezanne and Zola had never been friends, we all might have been deprived of great art:

Mmm, apples!


Anonymous said...

Well, Happy Anniversary and good luc kwith the meetup, I'm sure you'll meet a lot of great people.

I think you'd like the word quirkyalone, which was just added to the dictionary in the past few years. The word is exactly what it sounds like.

Ily said...

Funny you mention it, my very first post was about the book Quirkyalone. I do like the concept, but I think the name is just too odd!