Impressionism

Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement characterized by relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles. Impressionism originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s.

The Impressionists faced harsh opposition from the conventional art community in France. The name of the style derives from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), which provoked the critic Louis Leroy to coin the term in a satirical review published in the Parisian newspaper Le Charivari.

The development of Impressionism in the visual arts was soon followed by analogous styles in other media that became known as impressionist music and impressionist literature.

Claude Monet, Impression, soleil levant
Claude Monet, Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), 1872, oil on canvas, Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris. This painting became the source of the movement's name, after Louis Leroy's article The Exhibition of the Impressionists satirically implied that the painting was at most, a sketch.

Overview

The Fighting Temeraire, JMW Turner, National Gallery
J. M. W. Turner's atmospheric work was influential on the birth of Impressionism, here The Fighting Temeraire (1839)

Radicals in their time, early Impressionists violated the rules of academic painting. They constructed their pictures from freely brushed colours that took precedence over lines and contours, following the example of painters such as Eugène Delacroix and J. M. W. Turner. They also painted realistic scenes of modern life, and often painted outdoors. Previously, still lifes and portraits as well as landscapes were usually painted in a studio.[1] The Impressionists found that they could capture the momentary and transient effects of sunlight by painting outdoors or en plein air. They portrayed overall visual effects instead of details, and used short "broken" brush strokes of mixed and pure unmixed colour—not blended smoothly or shaded, as was customary—to achieve an effect of intense colour vibration.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Le Moulin de la Galette
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (Bal du moulin de la Galette), 1876, Musée d'Orsay, one of Impressionism's most celebrated masterpieces.[2]

Impressionism emerged in France at the same time that a number of other painters, including the Italian artists known as the Macchiaioli, and Winslow Homer in the United States, were also exploring plein-air painting. The Impressionists, however, developed new techniques specific to the style. Encompassing what its adherents argued was a different way of seeing, it is an art of immediacy and movement, of candid poses and compositions, of the play of light expressed in a bright and varied use of colour.

The public, at first hostile, gradually came to believe that the Impressionists had captured a fresh and original vision, even if the art critics and art establishment disapproved of the new style. By recreating the sensation in the eye that views the subject, rather than delineating the details of the subject, and by creating a welter of techniques and forms, Impressionism is a precursor of various painting styles, including Neo-Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism.

Beginnings

In the middle of the 19th century—a time of change, as Emperor Napoleon III rebuilt Paris and waged war—the Académie des Beaux-Arts dominated French art. The Académie was the preserver of traditional French painting standards of content and style. Historical subjects, religious themes, and portraits were valued; landscape and still life were not. The Académie preferred carefully finished images that looked realistic when examined closely. Paintings in this style were made up of precise brush strokes carefully blended to hide the artist's hand in the work.[3] Colour was restrained and often toned down further by the application of a golden varnish.[4]

The Académie had an annual, juried art show, the Salon de Paris, and artists whose work was displayed in the show won prizes, garnered commissions, and enhanced their prestige. The standards of the juries represented the values of the Académie, represented by the works of such artists as Jean-Léon Gérôme and Alexandre Cabanel.

In the early 1860s, four young painters—Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Frédéric Bazille—met while studying under the academic artist Charles Gleyre. They discovered that they shared an interest in painting landscape and contemporary life rather than historical or mythological scenes. Following a practice that had become increasingly popular by mid-century, they often ventured into the countryside together to paint in the open air,[5] but not for the purpose of making sketches to be developed into carefully finished works in the studio, as was the usual custom.[6] By painting in sunlight directly from nature, and making bold use of the vivid synthetic pigments that had become available since the beginning of the century, they began to develop a lighter and brighter manner of painting that extended further the Realism of Gustave Courbet and the Barbizon school. A favourite meeting place for the artists was the Café Guerbois on Avenue de Clichy in Paris, where the discussions were often led by Édouard Manet, whom the younger artists greatly admired. They were soon joined by Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, and Armand Guillaumin.[7]

Edouard Manet - Luncheon on the Grass - Google Art Project
Édouard Manet, The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l'herbe), 1863

During the 1860s, the Salon jury routinely rejected about half of the works submitted by Monet and his friends in favour of works by artists faithful to the approved style.[8] In 1863, the Salon jury rejected Manet's The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l'herbe) primarily because it depicted a nude woman with two clothed men at a picnic. While the Salon jury routinely accepted nudes in historical and allegorical paintings, they condemned Manet for placing a realistic nude in a contemporary setting.[9] The jury's severely worded rejection of Manet's painting appalled his admirers, and the unusually large number of rejected works that year perturbed many French artists.

After Emperor Napoleon III saw the rejected works of 1863, he decreed that the public be allowed to judge the work themselves, and the Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Refused) was organized. While many viewers came only to laugh, the Salon des Refusés drew attention to the existence of a new tendency in art and attracted more visitors than the regular Salon.[10]

Alfred Sisley 001
Alfred Sisley, View of the Saint-Martin Canal, Paris, 1870, Musée d'Orsay

Artists' petitions requesting a new Salon des Refusés in 1867, and again in 1872, were denied. In December 1873, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, Cézanne, Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas and several other artists founded the Société Anonyme Coopérative des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs ("Cooperative and Anonymous Association of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers") to exhibit their artworks independently.[11] Members of the association were expected to forswear participation in the Salon.[12] The organizers invited a number of other progressive artists to join them in their inaugural exhibition, including the older Eugène Boudin, whose example had first persuaded Monet to adopt plein air painting years before.[13] Another painter who greatly influenced Monet and his friends, Johan Jongkind, declined to participate, as did Édouard Manet. In total, thirty artists participated in their first exhibition, held in April 1874 at the studio of the photographer Nadar.

The critical response was mixed. Monet and Cézanne received the harshest attacks. Critic and humorist Louis Leroy wrote a scathing review in the newspaper Le Charivari in which, making wordplay with the title of Claude Monet's Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant), he gave the artists the name by which they became known. Derisively titling his article The Exhibition of the Impressionists, Leroy declared that Monet's painting was at most, a sketch, and could hardly be termed a finished work.

He wrote, in the form of a dialog between viewers,

Impression—I was certain of it. I was just telling myself that, since I was impressed, there had to be some impression in it ... and what freedom, what ease of workmanship! Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than that seascape.[14]

The term Impressionist quickly gained favour with the public. It was also accepted by the artists themselves, even though they were a diverse group in style and temperament, unified primarily by their spirit of independence and rebellion. They exhibited together—albeit with shifting membership—eight times between 1874 and 1886. The Impressionists' style, with its loose, spontaneous brushstrokes, would soon become synonymous with modern life.[4]

Monet, Sisley, Morisot, and Pissarro may be considered the "purest" Impressionists, in their consistent pursuit of an art of spontaneity, sunlight, and colour. Degas rejected much of this, as he believed in the primacy of drawing over colour and belittled the practice of painting outdoors.[15] Renoir turned away from Impressionism for a time during the 1880s, and never entirely regained his commitment to its ideas. Édouard Manet, although regarded by the Impressionists as their leader,[16] never abandoned his liberal use of black as a colour (while Impressionists avoided its use and preferred to obtain darker colours by mixing), and never participated in the Impressionist exhibitions. He continued to submit his works to the Salon, where his painting Spanish Singer had won a 2nd class medal in 1861, and he urged the others to do likewise, arguing that "the Salon is the real field of battle" where a reputation could be made.[17]

Camille Pissarro - Boulevard Montmartre - Eremitage
Camille Pissarro, Boulevard Montmartre, 1897, the Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Among the artists of the core group (minus Bazille, who had died in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870), defections occurred as Cézanne, followed later by Renoir, Sisley, and Monet, abstained from the group exhibitions so they could submit their works to the Salon. Disagreements arose from issues such as Guillaumin's membership in the group, championed by Pissarro and Cézanne against opposition from Monet and Degas, who thought him unworthy.[18] Degas invited Mary Cassatt to display her work in the 1879 exhibition, but also insisted on the inclusion of Jean-François Raffaëlli, Ludovic Lepic, and other realists who did not represent Impressionist practices, causing Monet in 1880 to accuse the Impressionists of "opening doors to first-come daubers".[19] The group divided over invitations to Paul Signac and Georges Seurat to exhibit with them in 1886. Pissarro was the only artist to show at all eight Impressionist exhibitions.

The individual artists achieved few financial rewards from the Impressionist exhibitions, but their art gradually won a degree of public acceptance and support. Their dealer, Durand-Ruel, played a major role in this as he kept their work before the public and arranged shows for them in London and New York. Although Sisley died in poverty in 1899, Renoir had a great Salon success in 1879.[20] Monet became secure financially during the early 1880s and so did Pissarro by the early 1890s. By this time the methods of Impressionist painting, in a diluted form, had become commonplace in Salon art.[21]

Impressionist techniques

Cassatt Mary At the Theater 1879
Mary Cassatt, Lydia Leaning on Her Arms (in a theatre box), 1879

French painters who prepared the way for Impressionism include the Romantic colourist Eugène Delacroix, the leader of the realists Gustave Courbet, and painters of the Barbizon school such as Théodore Rousseau. The Impressionists learned much from the work of Johan Barthold Jongkind, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Eugène Boudin, who painted from nature in a direct and spontaneous style that prefigured Impressionism, and who befriended and advised the younger artists.

A number of identifiable techniques and working habits contributed to the innovative style of the Impressionists. Although these methods had been used by previous artists—and are often conspicuous in the work of artists such as Frans Hals, Diego Velázquez, Peter Paul Rubens, John Constable, and J. M. W. Turner—the Impressionists were the first to use them all together, and with such consistency. These techniques include:

  • Short, thick strokes of paint quickly capture the essence of the subject, rather than its details. The paint is often applied impasto.
  • Colours are applied side-by-side with as little mixing as possible, a technique that exploits the principle of simultaneous contrast to make the colour appear more vivid to the viewer.
  • Grays and dark tones are produced by mixing complementary colours. Pure impressionism avoids the use of black paint.
  • Wet paint is placed into wet paint without waiting for successive applications to dry, producing softer edges and intermingling of colour.
  • Impressionist paintings do not exploit the transparency of thin paint films (glazes), which earlier artists manipulated carefully to produce effects. The impressionist painting surface is typically opaque.
  • The paint is applied to a white or light-coloured ground. Previously, painters often used dark grey or strongly coloured grounds.
  • The play of natural light is emphasized. Close attention is paid to the reflection of colours from object to object. Painters often worked in the evening to produce effets de soir—the shadowy effects of evening or twilight.
  • In paintings made en plein air (outdoors), shadows are boldly painted with the blue of the sky as it is reflected onto surfaces, giving a sense of freshness previously not represented in painting. (Blue shadows on snow inspired the technique.)

New technology played a role in the development of the style. Impressionists took advantage of the mid-century introduction of premixed paints in tin tubes (resembling modern toothpaste tubes), which allowed artists to work more spontaneously, both outdoors and indoors.[22] Previously, painters made their own paints individually, by grinding and mixing dry pigment powders with linseed oil, which were then stored in animal bladders.[23]

Many vivid synthetic pigments became commercially available to artists for the first time during the 19th century. These included cobalt blue, viridian, cadmium yellow, and synthetic ultramarine blue, all of which were in use by the 1840s, before Impressionism.[24] The Impressionists' manner of painting made bold use of these pigments, and of even newer colours such as cerulean blue,[4] which became commercially available to artists in the 1860s.[24]

The Impressionists' progress toward a brighter style of painting was gradual. During the 1860s, Monet and Renoir sometimes painted on canvases prepared with the traditional red-brown or grey ground.[25] By the 1870s, Monet, Renoir, and Pissarro usually chose to paint on grounds of a lighter grey or beige colour, which functioned as a middle tone in the finished painting.[25] By the 1880s, some of the Impressionists had come to prefer white or slightly off-white grounds, and no longer allowed the ground colour a significant role in the finished painting.[26]

Content and composition

Prior to the Impressionists, other painters, notably such 17th-century Dutch painters as Jan Steen, had emphasized common subjects, but their methods of composition were traditional. They arranged their compositions so that the main subject commanded the viewer's attention. J. M. W. Turner, while an artist of the Romantic era, anticipated the style of impressionism with his artwork [27]. The Impressionists relaxed the boundary between subject and background so that the effect of an Impressionist painting often resembles a snapshot, a part of a larger reality captured as if by chance.[28] Photography was gaining popularity, and as cameras became more portable, photographs became more candid. Photography inspired Impressionists to represent momentary action, not only in the fleeting lights of a landscape, but in the day-to-day lives of people.[29][30]

The development of Impressionism can be considered partly as a reaction by artists to the challenge presented by photography, which seemed to devalue the artist's skill in reproducing reality. Both portrait and landscape paintings were deemed somewhat deficient and lacking in truth as photography "produced lifelike images much more efficiently and reliably".[31]

In spite of this, photography actually inspired artists to pursue other means of creative expression, and rather than compete with photography to emulate reality, artists focused "on the one thing they could inevitably do better than the photograph—by further developing into an art form its very subjectivity in the conception of the image, the very subjectivity that photography eliminated".[31] The Impressionists sought to express their perceptions of nature, rather than create exact representations. This allowed artists to depict subjectively what they saw with their "tacit imperatives of taste and conscience".[32] Photography encouraged painters to exploit aspects of the painting medium, like colour, which photography then lacked: "The Impressionists were the first to consciously offer a subjective alternative to the photograph".[31]

Claude Monet - Jardin à Sainte-Adresse
Claude Monet, Jardin à Sainte-Adresse, 1867, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.,[33] a work showing the influence of Japanese prints

Another major influence was Japanese ukiyo-e art prints (Japonism). The art of these prints contributed significantly to the "snapshot" angles and unconventional compositions that became characteristic of Impressionism. An example is Monet's Jardin à Sainte-Adresse, 1867, with its bold blocks of colour and composition on a strong diagonal slant showing the influence of Japanese prints[34]

Edgar Degas was both an avid photographer and a collector of Japanese prints.[35] His The Dance Class (La classe de danse) of 1874 shows both influences in its asymmetrical composition. The dancers are seemingly caught off guard in various awkward poses, leaving an expanse of empty floor space in the lower right quadrant. He also captured his dancers in sculpture, such as the Little Dancer of Fourteen Years.

Women Impressionists

Impressionists, in varying degrees, were looking for ways to depict visual experience and contemporary subjects.[36] Women Impressionists were interested in these same ideals but had many social and career limitations compared to male Impressionists. In particular, they were excluded from the imagery of the bourgeois social sphere of the boulevard, cafe, and dance hall.[37] As well as imagery, women were excluded from the formative discussions that resulted in meetings in those places; that was where male Impressionists were able to form and share ideas about Impressionism.[37] In the academic realm, women were believed to be incapable of handling complex subjects which led teachers to restrict what they taught female students.[38] It was also considered unladylike to excel in art since women's true talents were then believed to center on homemaking and mothering.[38]

Yet several women were able to find success during their lifetime, even though their careers were affected by personal circumstances – Bracquemond, for example, had a husband who was resentful of her work which caused her to give up painting.[39] The four most well known, namely, Mary Cassatt, Eva Gonzalès, Marie Bracquemond, and Berthe Morisot, are, and were, often referred to as the 'Women Impressionists'. Their participation in the series of eight Impressionist exhibitions that took place in Paris from 1874 to 1886 varied: Morisot participated in seven, Cassatt in four, Bracquemond in three, and Gonzalès did not participate.[39][40]

The critics of the time lumped these four together without regard to their personal styles, techniques, or subject matter.[41] Critics viewing their works at the exhibitions often attempted to acknowledge the women artists' talents but circumscribed them within a limited notion of femininity.[42] Arguing for the suitability of Impressionist technique to women's manner of perception, Parisian critic S.C. de Soissons wrote:

One can understand that women have no originality of thought, and that literature and music have no feminine character; but surely women know how to observe, and what they see is quite different from that which men see, and the art which they put in their gestures, in their toilet, in the decoration of their environment is sufficient to give is the idea of an instinctive, of a peculiar genius which resides in each one of them. [43]

While Impressionism legitimized the domestic social life as subject matter, of which women had intimate knowledge, it also tended to limit them to that subject matter. Portrayals of often-identifiable sitters in domestic settings (which could offer commissions) were dominant in the exhibitions.[44] The subjects of the paintings were often women interacting with their environment by either their gaze or movement. Cassatt, in particular, was aware of her placement of subjects: she kept her predominantly female figures from objectification and cliche; when they are not reading, they converse, sew, drink tea, and when they are inactive, they seem lost in thought.[45]

Young Girl at a Window
Mary Cassatt, Young Girl at a Window, 1885, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Eva Gonzalès - Une loge aux Italiens
Eva Gonzalès, Une Loge aux Italiens, or, Box at the Italian Opera, ca. 1874, oil on canvas, Musée d'Orsay, Paris

The women Impressionists, like their male counterparts, were striving for "truth," for new ways of seeing and new painting techniques; each artist had an individual painting style.[46] Women Impressionists (particularly Morisot and Cassatt) were conscious of the balance of power between women and objects in their paintings – the bourgeois women depicted are not defined by decorative objects, but instead, interact with and dominate the things with which they live.[47] There are many similarities in their depictions of women who seem both at ease and subtly confined.[48] Gonzalès' Box at the Italian Opera depicts a woman staring into the distance, at ease in a social sphere but confined by the box and the man standing next to her. Cassatt's painting Young Girl at a Window is brighter in color but remains constrained by the canvas edge as she looks out the window.

Despite their success in their ability to have a career and Impressionism's demise attributed to its allegedly feminine characteristics (its sensuality, dependence on sensation, physicality, and fluidity) the four women artists (and other, lesser-known women Impressionists) were largely omitted from art historical textbooks covering Impressionist artists until Tamar Garb's Women Impressionists published in 1986.[49] For example, Impressionism by Jean Leymarie, published in 1955 included no information on any women Impressionists.

Main Impressionists

Champs de Tulipes de Claude Monet
Claude Monet, Tulip Fields in Holland (Champs de Tulipes en Holland), 1886, Musée d'Orsay

The central figures in the development of Impressionism in France,[50][51] listed alphabetically, were:

  • Frédéric Bazille (who only posthumously participated in the Impressionist exhibitions) (1841–1870)
  • Gustave Caillebotte (who, younger than the others, joined forces with them in the mid-1870s) (1848–1894)
  • Mary Cassatt (American-born, she lived in Paris and participated in four Impressionist exhibitions) (1844–1926)
  • Paul Cézanne (although he later broke away from the Impressionists) (1839–1906)
  • Edgar Degas (who despised the term Impressionist) (1834–1917)
  • Armand Guillaumin (1841–1927)
  • Édouard Manet (who did not participate in any of the Impressionist exhibitions) (1832–1883)[52]
  • Claude Monet (the most prolific of the Impressionists and the one who embodies their aesthetic most obviously)[53] (1840–1926)
  • Berthe Morisot (who participated in all Impressionist exhibitions except in 1879) (1841–1895)
  • Camille Pissarro (1830–1903)
  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir (who participated in Impressionist exhibitions in 1874, 1876, 1877 and 1882) (1841–1919)
  • Alfred Sisley (1839–1899)

Gallery

Frederic Bazille Paysage au bord du Lez

Frédéric Bazille, Paysage au bord du Lez, 1870, Minneapolis Institute of Art

Sisley-Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne

Alfred Sisley, Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne, 1872, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Berthe Morisot, Le berceau (The Cradle), 1872

Berthe Morisot, The Cradle, 1872, Musée d'Orsay

Guillaumin SoleilCouchantAIvry

Armand Guillaumin, Sunset at Ivry (Soleil couchant à Ivry), 1873, Musée d'Orsay

Edgar Degas - After the bath, woman drying herself - Google Art Project

Edgar Degas, After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself, c. 1884–1886 (reworked between 1890 and 1900), MuMa, Le Havre

Edgar Germain Hilaire Degas 069

Edgar Degas, Dancer with a Bouquet of Flowers (Star of the Ballet), 1878

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1880, Portrait of Mademoiselle Irène Cahen d'Anvers, Sammlung E.G. Bührle

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Portrait of Mademoiselle Irène Cahen d'Anvers (La Petite Irène), 1880, Foundation E.G. Bührle, Zürich

Girl with a Hoop

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Girl with a Hoop, 1885

Claude Monet The Cliffs at Etretat

Claude Monet, The Cliff at Étretat after the Storm, 1885, Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts

The Child's Bath by Mary Cassatt 1893

Mary Cassatt, The Child's Bath (The Bath), 1893, oil on canvas, Art Institute of Chicago

Brooklyn Museum - Portrait of Mme Boursier and Her Daughter (Portrait de Mme Boursier et de sa fille) - Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot, Portrait of Mme Boursier and Her Daughter, c. 1873, Brooklyn Museum

Claude Monet, Le Grand Canal

Le Grand Canal - Claude Monet

Timeline: Lives of the Impressionists

The Impressionists

Associates and influenced artists

James Abbot McNeill Whistler 012
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket, 1874, Detroit Institute of Arts

Among the close associates of the Impressionists were several painters who adopted their methods to some degree. These include Jean-Louis Forain (who participated in Impressionist exhibitions in 1879, 1880, 1881 and 1886)[54] and Giuseppe De Nittis, an Italian artist living in Paris who participated in the first Impressionist exhibit at the invitation of Degas, although the other Impressionists disparaged his work.[55] Federico Zandomeneghi was another Italian friend of Degas who showed with the Impressionists. Eva Gonzalès was a follower of Manet who did not exhibit with the group. James Abbott McNeill Whistler was an American-born painter who played a part in Impressionism although he did not join the group and preferred grayed colours. Walter Sickert, an English artist, was initially a follower of Whistler, and later an important disciple of Degas; he did not exhibit with the Impressionists. In 1904 the artist and writer Wynford Dewhurst wrote the first important study of the French painters published in English, Impressionist Painting: its genesis and development, which did much to popularize Impressionism in Great Britain.

By the early 1880s, Impressionist methods were affecting, at least superficially, the art of the Salon. Fashionable painters such as Jean Béraud and Henri Gervex found critical and financial success by brightening their palettes while retaining the smooth finish expected of Salon art.[56] Works by these artists are sometimes casually referred to as Impressionism, despite their remoteness from Impressionist practice.

The influence of the French Impressionists lasted long after most of them had died. Artists like J.D. Kirszenbaum were borrowing Impressionist techniques throughout the twentieth century.

Beyond France

As the influence of Impressionism spread beyond France, artists, too numerous to list, became identified as practitioners of the new style. Some of the more important examples are:

Sculpture, photography and film

The sculptor Auguste Rodin is sometimes called an Impressionist for the way he used roughly modeled surfaces to suggest transient light effects.[57]

Pictorialist photographers whose work is characterized by soft focus and atmospheric effects have also been called Impressionists.

French Impressionist Cinema is a term applied to a loosely defined group of films and filmmakers in France from 1919–1929, although these years are debatable. French Impressionist filmmakers include Abel Gance, Jean Epstein, Germaine Dulac, Marcel L’Herbier, Louis Delluc, and Dmitry Kirsanoff.

Music and literature

Musical Impressionism is the name given to a movement in European classical music that arose in the late 19th century and continued into the middle of the 20th century. Originating in France, musical Impressionism is characterized by suggestion and atmosphere, and eschews the emotional excesses of the Romantic era. Impressionist composers favoured short forms such as the nocturne, arabesque, and prelude, and often explored uncommon scales such as the whole tone scale. Perhaps the most notable innovations of Impressionist composers were the introduction of major 7th chords and the extension of chord structures in 3rds to five- and six-part harmonies.

The influence of visual Impressionism on its musical counterpart is debatable. Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel are generally considered the greatest Impressionist composers, but Debussy disavowed the term, calling it the invention of critics. Erik Satie was also considered in this category, though his approach was regarded as less serious, more musical novelty in nature. Paul Dukas is another French composer sometimes considered an Impressionist, but his style is perhaps more closely aligned to the late Romanticists. Musical Impressionism beyond France includes the work of such composers as Ottorino Respighi (Italy), Ralph Vaughan Williams, Cyril Scott, and John Ireland (England), Manuel De Falla and Isaac Albeniz (Spain), and Charles Griffes (America).

The term Impressionism has also been used to describe works of literature in which a few select details suffice to convey the sensory impressions of an incident or scene. Impressionist literature is closely related to Symbolism, with its major exemplars being Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Rimbaud, and Verlaine. Authors such as Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, and Joseph Conrad have written works that are Impressionistic in the way that they describe, rather than interpret, the impressions, sensations and emotions that constitute a character's mental life.

Camille Pissarro 019
Camille Pissarro, Children on a Farm, 1887

Post-Impressionism

During the 1880s several artists began to develop different precepts for the use of colour, pattern, form, and line, derived from the Impressionist example: Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. These artists were slightly younger than the Impressionists, and their work is known as post-Impressionism. Some of the original Impressionist artists also ventured into this new territory; Camille Pissarro briefly painted in a pointillist manner, and even Monet abandoned strict plein air painting. Paul Cézanne, who participated in the first and third Impressionist exhibitions, developed a highly individual vision emphasising pictorial structure, and he is more often called a post-Impressionist. Although these cases illustrate the difficulty of assigning labels, the work of the original Impressionist painters may, by definition, be categorised as Impressionism.

Paul Gauguin 044

Paul Gauguin, The Midday Nap, 1894, Metropolitan Museum of Art

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Exceptions include Canaletto, who painted outside and may have used the camera obscura.
  2. ^ Ingo F. Walther, Masterpieces of Western Art: A History of Art in 900 Individual Studies from the Gothic to the Present Day, Part 1, Centralibros Hispania Edicion y Distribucion, S.A., 1999, ISBN 3822870315
  3. ^ Nathalia Brodskaya, Impressionism, Parkstone International, 2014, pp. 13-14
  4. ^ a b c Samu, Margaret. "Impressionism: Art and Modernity". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000 (October 2004)
  5. ^ White, Harrison C., Cynthia A. White (1993). Canvases and Careers: Institutional Change in the French Painting World. University of Chicago Press. p. 116. ISBN 0226894878.
  6. ^ Bomford et al. 1990, pp. 21–27.
  7. ^ Greenspan, Taube G. "Armand Guillaumin", Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online, Oxford University Press.
  8. ^ Seiberling, Grace, "Impressionism", Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online, Oxford University Press.
  9. ^ Denvir (1990), p.133.
  10. ^ Denvir (1990), p.194.
  11. ^ Bomford et al. 1990, p. 209.
  12. ^ Jensen 1994, p. 90.
  13. ^ Denvir (1990), p.32.
  14. ^ Rewald (1973), p. 323.
  15. ^ Gordon; Forge (1988), pp. 11–12.
  16. ^ Distel et al. (1974), p. 127.
  17. ^ Richardson (1976), p. 3.
  18. ^ Denvir (1990), p.105.
  19. ^ Rewald (1973), p. 603.
  20. ^ Distel, Anne, Michel Hoog, and Charles S. Moffett. 1974. Impressionism; a Centenary Exhibition, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, December 12, 1974–February 10, 1975. [New York]: [Metropolitan Museum of Art]. p. 190. ISBN 0870990977.
  21. ^ Rewald (1973), p. 475–476.
  22. ^ Bomford et al. 1990, pp. 39–41.
  23. ^ Renoir and the Impressionist Process Archived 2011-01-05 at the Wayback Machine. The Phillips Collection, retrieved May 21, 2011
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References

  • Baumann, Felix Andreas, Marianne Karabelnik-Matta, Jean Sutherland Boggs, and Tobia Bezzola (1994). Degas Portraits. London: Merrell Holberton. ISBN 1-85894-014-1
  • Bomford, David, Jo Kirby, John Leighton, Ashok Roy, and Raymond White (1990). Impressionism. London: National Gallery. ISBN 0-300-05035-6
  • Denvir, Bernard (1990). The Thames and Hudson Encyclopaedia of Impressionism. London: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-20239-7
  • Distel, Anne, Michel Hoog, and Charles S. Moffett (1974). Impressionism; a centenary exhibition, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, December 12, 1974-February 10, 1975. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 0-8709-9097-7
  • Eisenman, Stephen F (2011). "From Corot to Monet: The Ecology of Impressionism". Milan: Skira. ISBN 8857207064.
  • Gordon, Robert; Forge, Andrew (1988). Degas. New York: Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 0-8109-1142-6
  • Gowing, Lawrence, with Adriani, Götz; Krumrine, Mary Louise; Lewis, Mary Tompkins; Patin, Sylvie; Rewald, John (1988). Cézanne: The Early Years 1859-1872. New York: Harry N. Abrams.
  • Jensen, Robert (1994). Marketing modernism in fin-de-siècle Europe. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691033331.
  • Moskowitz, Ira; Sérullaz, Maurice (1962). French Impressionists: A Selection of Drawings of the French 19th Century. Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-58560-2
  • Rewald, John (1973). The History of Impressionism (4th, Revised Ed.). New York: The Museum of Modern Art. ISBN 0-87070-360-9
  • Richardson, John (1976). Manet (3rd Ed.). Oxford: Phaidon Press Ltd. ISBN 0-7148-1743-0
  • Rosenblum, Robert (1989). Paintings in the Musée d'Orsay. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang. ISBN 1-55670-099-7
  • Moffett, Charles S. (1986). "The New Painting, Impressionism 1874-1886". Geneva: Richard Burton SA.

External links

American Impressionism

American Impressionism was a style of painting related to European Impressionism and practiced by American artists in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. American Impressionism is a style of painting characterized by loose brushwork and vivid colors. The style often depicted landscapes mixed with scenes of upper-class domestic life.

Art movement

An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a restricted period of time, (usually a few months, years or decades) or, at least, with the heyday of the movement defined within a number of years. Art movements were especially important in modern art, when each consecutive movement was considered as a new avant-garde.

Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro (French: [kamij pisaʁo]; 10 July 1830 – 13 November 1903) was a Danish-French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painter born on the island of St Thomas (now in the US Virgin Islands, but then in the Danish West Indies). His importance resides in his contributions to both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Pissarro studied from great forerunners, including Gustave Courbet and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. He later studied and worked alongside Georges Seurat and Paul Signac when he took on the Neo-Impressionist style at the age of 54.

In 1873 he helped establish a collective society of fifteen aspiring artists, becoming the "pivotal" figure in holding the group together and encouraging the other members. Art historian John Rewald called Pissarro the "dean of the Impressionist painters", not only because he was the oldest of the group, but also "by virtue of his wisdom and his balanced, kind, and warmhearted personality". Paul Cézanne said "he was a father for me. A man to consult and a little like the good Lord," and he was also one of Paul Gauguin's masters. Pierre-Auguste Renoir referred to his work as "revolutionary", through his artistic portrayals of the "common man", as Pissarro insisted on painting individuals in natural settings without "artifice or grandeur".

Pissarro is the only artist to have shown his work at all eight Paris Impressionist exhibitions, from 1874 to 1886. He "acted as a father figure not only to the Impressionists" but to all four of the major Post-Impressionists, Georges Seurat, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Gauguin.

Canadian Impressionism

Canadian Impressionism is a subclass of Impressionist art influenced from French Impressionism. Guy Wildenstein of the Wildenstein Institute in Paris states in the foreword of A.K. Prakash's Impressionism in Canada: A Journey of Rediscovery that Canadian impressionism is "the Canadian artists who gleaned much from the French but, in their improvisations, managed to transmute what they learned into an art reflecting the aesthetic concerns of their compatriots and the times in which they lived and worked". The early Canadian Impressionist painters belong into the "Group of who?" as coined by James Adams of The Globe and Mail.

Claude Monet

Oscar-Claude Monet (; French: [klod mɔnɛ]; 14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926) was a French painter, a founder of French Impressionist painting and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein air landscape painting. The term "Impressionism" is derived from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), which was exhibited in 1874 in the first of the independent exhibitions mounted by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the Salon de Paris.Monet's ambition of documenting the French countryside led him to adopt a method of painting the same scene many times in order to capture the changing of light and the passing of the seasons. From 1883, Monet lived in Giverny, where he purchased a house and property and began a vast landscaping project which included lily ponds that would become the subjects of his best-known works. In 1899, he began painting the water lilies, first in vertical views with a Japanese bridge as a central feature and later in the series of large-scale paintings that was to occupy him continuously for the next 20 years of his life.

Divisionism

Divisionism (also called chromoluminarism) was the characteristic style in Neo-Impressionist painting defined by the separation of colors into individual dots or patches which interacted optically.By requiring the viewer to combine the colors optically instead of physically mixing pigments, Divisionists believed they were achieving the maximum luminosity scientifically possible. Georges Seurat founded the style around 1884 as chromoluminarism, drawing from his understanding of the scientific theories of Michel Eugène Chevreul, Ogden Rood and Charles Blanc, among others. Divisionism developed along with another style, Pointillism, which is defined specifically by the use of dots of paint and does not necessarily focus on the separation of colors.

Fauvism

Fauvism is the style of les Fauves (French for "the wild beasts"), a group of early twentieth-century modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong color over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism. While Fauvism as a style began around 1904 and continued beyond 1910, the movement as such lasted only a few years, 1905–1908, and had three exhibitions. The leaders of the movement were André Derain and Henri Matisse.

Georges Seurat

Georges-Pierre Seurat (French: [ʒɔʁʒ pjɛʁ sœʁa]; 2 December 1859 – 29 March 1891) was a French post-Impressionist artist. He is best known for devising the painting techniques known as chromoluminarism and pointillism. While less famous than his paintings, his conté crayon drawings have also garnered a great deal of critical appreciation. Seurat's artistic personality was compounded of qualities which are usually supposed to be opposed and incompatible: on the one hand, his extreme and delicate sensibility; on the other, a passion for logical abstraction and an almost mathematical precision of mind. His large-scale work, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884–1886), altered the direction of modern art by initiating Neo-impressionism, and is one of the icons of late 19th-century painting.

Heidelberg School

The Heidelberg School was an Australian art movement of the late 19th century. The movement has latterly been described as Australian Impressionism.Melbourne art critic Sidney Dickinson coined the term in a July 1891 review of works by Arthur Streeton and Walter Withers. He noted that these and other local artists, who painted en plein air in Heidelberg on the city's outskirts, could be considered members of the "Heidelberg School". The term has since evolved to cover painters who worked together at "artists' camps" around Melbourne and Sydney in the 1880s and 1890s. Along with Streeton and Withers, Tom Roberts, Charles Conder and Frederick McCubbin are considered key figures of the movement. Drawing on naturalist and impressionist ideas, they sought to capture Australian life, the bush, and the harsh sunlight that typifies the country.

The works of these artists are notable, not only for their merits as compositions, but as part of Australia's cultural heritage. The period leading up to Federation in 1901 saw an upsurge in Australian nationalism, and is the setting for many classic stories of Australian folklore, made famous in the works of bush poets associated with the Bulletin School, such as Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson. The Heidelberg School's work provides a visual complement to these tales and their images have become icons of Australian art. The artists are well-represented in Australia's major public galleries, including the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Impressionism (literature)

Influenced by the European Impressionist art movement, many writers adopted a style that relied on associations. The Dutch Tachtigers explicitly tried to incorporate impressionism into their prose, poems, and other literary works. Much of what has been called "impressionist" literature is subsumed into several other categories, especially Symbolism, its chief exponents being Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Rimbaud, Verlaine and Laforgue. It focuses on a particular character's perception of events. The edges of reality are blurred by choosing points of view that lie outside the norm.

Impressionism in music

Impressionism in music was a movement among various composers in Western classical music (mainly during the late 19th and early 20th centuries) whose music focuses on suggestion and atmosphere, "conveying the moods and emotions aroused by the subject rather than a detailed tone‐picture". "Impressionism" is a philosophical and aesthetic term borrowed from late 19th-century French painting after Monet's Impression, Sunrise. Composers were labeled impressionists by analogy to the impressionist painters who use starkly contrasting colors, effect of light on an object, blurry foreground and background, flattening perspective, etc. to make the observer focus his attention on the overall impression.The most prominent feature in musical impressionism is the use of "color", or in musical terms, timbre, which can be achieved through orchestration, harmonic usage, texture, etc. Other elements of music impressionism also involve new chord combinations, ambiguous tonality, extended harmonies, use of modes and exotic scales, parallel motion, extra-musicality, and evocative titles such as Reflets dans l'eau (Reflections on the water, 1905), Brouillards (Mists, 1913) etc.

Japonism

First described by French art critic and collector Philippe Burty in 1872, Japonism, from the French Japonisme, is the study of Japanese art and artistic talent. Japonism affected fine arts, sculpture, architecture, performing arts and decorative arts throughout Western culture. The term is used particularly to refer to Japanese influence on European art, especially in impressionism.

Neo-impressionism

Neo-Impressionism is a term coined by French art critic Félix Fénéon in 1886 to describe an art movement founded by Georges Seurat. Seurat's greatest masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, marked the beginning of this movement when it first made its appearance at an exhibition of the Société des Artistes Indépendants (Salon des Indépendants) in Paris. Around this time, the peak of France's modern era emerged and many painters were in search of new methods. Followers of Neo-Impressionism, in particular, were drawn to modern urban scenes as well as landscapes and seashores. Science-based interpretation of lines and colors influenced Neo-Impressionists' characterization of their own contemporary art. The Pointillist and Divisionist techniques are often mentioned in this context, because it was the dominant technique in the beginning of the Neo-impressionist movement.

Some argue that Neo-Impressionism became the first true avant-garde movement in painting. The Neo-Impressionists were able to create a movement very quickly in the 19th century, partially due to its strong connection to anarchism, which set a pace for later artistic manifestations. The movement and the style were an attempt to drive "harmonious" vision from modern science, anarchist theory, and late 19th-century debate around the value of academic art. The artists of the movement "promised to employ optical and psycho-biological theories in pursuit of a grand synthesis of the ideal and the real, the fugitive and the essential, science and temperament."

Paul Durand-Ruel

Paul Durand-Ruel (31 October 1831, Paris – 5 February 1922, Paris) was a French art dealer who is associated with the Impressionists and the Barbizon School. He was one of the first modern art dealers who provided support to his painters with stipends and solo exhibitions.

Pointillism

Pointillism () is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image.

Georges Seurat and Paul Signac developed the technique in 1886, branching from Impressionism. The term "Pointillism" was coined by art critics in the late 1880s to ridicule the works of these artists, and is now used without its earlier mocking connotation. The movement Seurat began with this technique is known as Neo-impressionism. The Divisionists, too, used a similar technique of patterns to form images, though with larger cube-like brushstrokes.

Post-Impressionism

Post-Impressionism (also spelled Postimpressionism) is a predominantly French art movement that developed roughly between 1886 and 1905, from the last Impressionist exhibition to the birth of Fauvism. Post-Impressionism emerged as a reaction against Impressionists' concern for the naturalistic depiction of light and colour. Due to its broad emphasis on abstract qualities or symbolic content, Post-Impressionism encompasses Les Nabis Neo-Impressionism, Symbolism, Cloisonnism, Pont-Aven School, and Synthetism, along with some later Impressionists' work. The movement was led by Paul Cézanne (known as father of Post-impressionism), Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, and Georges Seurat.The term Post-Impressionism was first used by art critic Roger Fry in 1906. Critic Frank Rutter in a review of the Salon d'Automne published in Art News, 15 October 1910, described Othon Friesz as a "post-impressionist leader"; there was also an advert for the show The Post-Impressionists of France. Three weeks later, Roger Fry used the term again when he organized the 1910 exhibition, Manet and the Post-Impressionists, defining it as the development of French art since Manet.

Post-Impressionists extended Impressionism while rejecting its limitations: they continued using vivid colours, often thick application of paint, and real-life subject matter, but were more inclined to emphasize geometric forms, distort form for expressive effect, and use unnatural or arbitrary colour.

Synthetism

Synthetism is a term used by post-Impressionist artists like Paul Gauguin, Émile Bernard and Louis Anquetin to distinguish their work from Impressionism. Earlier, Synthetism has been connected to the term Cloisonnism, and later to Symbolism. The term is derived from the French verb synthétiser (to synthesize or to combine so as to form a new, complex product).

Paul Gauguin, Émile Bernard, Louis Anquetin, and others pioneered the style during the late 1880s and early 1890s.

Synthetist artists aimed to synthesize three features:

The outward appearance of natural forms.

The artist’s feelings about their subject.

The purity of the aesthetic considerations of line, colour and form.In 1890, Maurice Denis summarized the goals for synthetism as,

It is well to remember that a picture before being a battle horse, a nude woman, or some anecdote, is essentially a flat surface covered with colours assembled in a certain order.The term was first used in 1877 to distinguish between scientific and naturalistic impressionism, and in 1889 when Gauguin and Emile Schuffenecker organized an Exposition de peintures du groupe impressioniste et synthétiste in the Café Volpini at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. The confusing title has been mistakenly associated with impressionism. Synthetism emphasized two-dimensional flat patterns, thus differing from impressionist art and theory.

Tonalism

Tonalism was an artistic style that emerged in the 1880s when American artists began to paint landscape forms with an overall tone of colored atmosphere or mist. Between 1880 and 1915, dark, neutral hues such as gray, brown or blue, often dominated compositions by artists associated with the style. During the late 1890s, American art critics began to use the term "tonal" to describe these works. Two of the leading associated painters were George Inness and James McNeill Whistler.

Australian Tonalism emerged as an art movement in Melbourne during the 1910s.

Tonalism is sometimes used to describe American landscapes derived from the French Barbizon style, which emphasized mood and shadow. Tonalism was eventually eclipsed by Impressionism and European modernism.

Visual arts

The visual arts are art forms such as painting, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, drawing, design, crafts, photography, video, filmmaking, and architecture. Many artistic disciplines (performing arts, conceptual art, textile arts) involve aspects of the visual arts as well as arts of other types. Also included within the visual arts are the applied arts such as industrial design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design and decorative art.Current usage of the term "visual arts" includes fine art as well as the applied or decorative arts and crafts, but this was not always the case. Before the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and elsewhere at the turn of the 20th century, the term 'artist' had for some centuries often been restricted to a person working in the fine arts (such as painting, sculpture, or printmaking) and not the decorative arts, craft, or applied art media. The distinction was emphasized by artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement, who valued vernacular art forms as much as high forms. Art schools made a distinction between the fine arts and the crafts, maintaining that a craftsperson could not be considered a practitioner of the arts.

The increasing tendency to privilege painting, and to a lesser degree sculpture, above other arts has been a feature of Western art as well as East Asian art. In both regions painting has been seen as relying to the highest degree on the imagination of the artist, and the furthest removed from manual labour – in Chinese painting the most highly valued styles were those of "scholar-painting", at least in theory practiced by gentleman amateurs. The Western hierarchy of genres reflected similar attitudes.

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