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.
The Post-Impressionists were dissatisfied with what they felt was the triviality of subject matter and the loss of structure in Impressionist paintings, though they did not agree on the way forward. Georges Seurat and his followers concerned themselves with Pointillism, the systematic use of tiny dots of colour. Paul Cézanne set out to restore a sense of order and structure to painting, to "make of Impressionism something solid and durable, like the art of the museums". He achieved this by reducing objects to their basic shapes while retaining the saturated colours of Impressionism. The Impressionist Camille Pissarro experimented with Neo-Impressionist ideas between the mid-1880s and the early 1890s. Discontented with what he referred to as romantic Impressionism, he investigated Pointillism, which he called scientific Impressionism, before returning to a purer Impressionism in the last decade of his life. Vincent van Gogh used colour and vibrant swirling brush strokes to convey his feelings and his state of mind.
Although they often exhibited together, Post-Impressionist artists were not in agreement concerning a cohesive movement. Yet, the abstract concerns of harmony and structural arrangement, in the work of all these artists, took precedence over naturalism. Artists such as Seurat adopted a meticulously scientific approach to colour and composition.
The term was used in 1906, and again in 1910 by Roger Fry in the title of an exhibition of modern French painters: Manet and the Post-Impressionists, organized by Fry for the Grafton Galleries in London. Three weeks before Fry's show, art critic Frank Rutter had put the term Post-Impressionist in print in Art News of 15 October 1910, during a review of the Salon d'Automne, where he described Othon Friesz as a "post-impressionist leader"; there was also an advert in the journal for the show The Post-Impressionists of France.
Most of the artists in Fry's exhibition were younger than the Impressionists. Fry later explained: "For purposes of convenience, it was necessary to give these artists a name, and I chose, as being the vaguest and most non-committal, the name of Post-Impressionism. This merely stated their position in time relatively to the Impressionist movement." John Rewald limited the scope to the years between 1886 and 1892 in his pioneering publication on Post-Impressionism: From Van Gogh to Gauguin (1956). Rewald considered this a continuation of his 1946 study, History of Impressionism, and pointed out that a "subsequent volume dedicated to the second half of the post-impressionist period": Post-Impressionism: From Gauguin to Matisse, was to follow. This volume would extend the period covered to other artistic movements derived from Impressionism, though confined to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Rewald focused on such outstanding early Post-Impressionists active in France as van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, and Redon. He explored their relationships as well as the artistic circles they frequented (or were in opposition to), including:
Furthermore, in his introduction to Post-Impressionism, Rewald opted for a second volume featuring Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Rousseau "le Douanier", Les Nabis and Cézanne as well as the Fauves, the young Picasso and Gauguin's last trip to the South Seas; it was to expand the period covered at least into the first decade of the 20th century—yet this second volume remained unfinished.
Rewald wrote that "the term 'Post-Impressionism' is not a very precise one, though a very convenient one." Convenient, when the term is by definition limited to French visual arts derived from Impressionism since 1886. Rewald's approach to historical data was narrative rather than analytic, and beyond this point he believed it would be sufficient to "let the sources speak for themselves."
To meet the recent discussion, the connotations of the term 'Post-Impressionism' were challenged again: Alan Bowness and his collaborators expanded the period covered forward to 1914 and the beginning of World War I, but limited their approach widely on the 1890s to France. Other European countries are pushed back to standard connotations, and Eastern Europe is completely excluded.
So, while a split may be seen between classical 'Impressionism' and 'Post-Impressionism' in 1886, the end and the extent of 'Post-Impressionism' remains under discussion. For Bowness and his contributors as well as for Rewald, 'Cubism' was an absolutely fresh start, and so Cubism has been seen in France since the beginning, and later in Anglosaxonia. Meanwhile, Eastern European artists, however, did not care so much for western traditions, and proceeded to manners of painting called abstract and suprematic—terms expanding far into the 20th century.
According to the present state of discussion, Post-Impressionism is a term best used within Rewald's definition in a strictly historical manner, concentrating on French art between 1886 and 1914, and re-considering the altered positions of impressionist painters like Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, and others—as well as all new schools and movements at the turn of the century: from Cloisonnism to Cubism. The declarations of war, in July/August 1914, indicate probably far more than the beginning of a World War—they signal a major break in European cultural history, too.
Along with general art history information given about "Post-Impressionism" works, there are many museums that offer additional history, information and gallery works, both online and in house, that can help viewers understand a deeper meaning of "Post-Impressionism" in terms of fine art and traditional art applications.
Twentieth-century art—and what it became as modern art—began with modernism in the late nineteenth century. Nineteenth-century movements of Post-Impressionism (Les Nabis), Art Nouveau and Symbolism led to the first twentieth-century art movements of Fauvism in France and Die Brücke ("The Bridge") in Germany. Fauvism in Paris introduced heightened non-representational colour into figurative painting. Die Brücke strove for emotional Expressionism. Another German group was Der Blaue Reiter ("The Blue Rider"), led by Kandinsky in Munich, who associated the blue rider image with a spiritual non-figurative mystical art of the future. Kandinsky, Kupka, R. Delaunay and Picabia were pioneers of abstract (or non-representational) art. Cubism, generated by Picasso, Braque, Metzinger, Gleizes and others rejected the plastic norms of the Renaissance by introducing multiple perspectives into a two-dimensional image. Futurism incorporated the depiction of movement and machine age imagery. Dadaism, with its most notable exponents, Marcel Duchamp, who rejected conventional art styles altogether by exhibiting found objects, notably a urinal, and too Francis Picabia, with his Portraits Mécaniques.
Parallel movements in Russia were Suprematism, where Kasimir Malevich also created non-representational work, notably a black canvas. The Jack of Diamonds group with Mikhail Larionov was expressionist in nature.
Dadaism preceded Surrealism, where the theories of Freudian psychology led to the depiction of the dream and the unconscious in art in work by Salvador Dalí. Kandinsky's introduction of non-representational art preceded the 1950s American Abstract Expressionist school, including Jackson Pollock, who dripped paint onto the canvas, and Mark Rothko, who created large areas of flat colour. Detachment from the world of imagery was reversed in the 1960s by the Pop Art movement, notably Andy Warhol, where brash commercial imagery became a Fine Art staple. Warhol also minimised the role of the artist, often employing assistants to make his work and using mechanical means of production, such as silkscreen printing. This marked a change from Modernism to Post-Modernism. Photorealism evolved from Pop Art and as a counter to Abstract Expressionists.
Subsequent initiatives towards the end of the century involved a paring down of the material of art through Minimalism, and a shift toward non-visual components with Conceptual art, where the idea, not necessarily the made object, was seen as the art. The last decade of the century saw a fusion of earlier ideas in work by Jeff Koons, who made large sculptures from kitsch subjects, and in the UK, the Young British Artists, where Conceptual Art, Dada and Pop Art ideas led to Damien Hirst's exhibition of a shark in formaldehyde in a vitrine.Allied Artists Association
The Allied Artists Association (AAA) was an art exhibiting society based in London in the early 20th century.Camden Town Group
The Camden Town Group was a group of English Post-Impressionist artists active 1911–1913. They gathered frequently at the studio of painter Walter Sickert in the Camden Town area of London.Cloisonnism
Cloisonnism is a style of post-Impressionist painting with bold and flat forms separated by dark contours. The term was coined by critic Edouard Dujardin on the occasion of the Salon des Indépendants, in March 1888. Artists Émile Bernard, Louis Anquetin, Paul Gauguin, Paul Sérusier, and others started painting in this style in the late 19th century. The name evokes the technique of cloisonné, where wires (cloisons or "compartments") are soldered to the body of the piece, filled with powdered glass, and then fired. Many of the same painters also described their works as Synthetism, a closely related movement.
In The Yellow Christ (1889), often cited as a quintessential cloisonnist work, Gauguin reduced the image to areas of single colors separated by heavy black outlines. In such works he paid little attention to classical perspective and boldly eliminated subtle gradations of color—two of the most characteristic principles of post-Renaissance painting.
The cloisonnist separation of colors reflects an appreciation for discontinuity that is characteristic of Modernism.Cumberland Market Group
The Cumberland Market Group was a short-lived artistic grouping in early twentieth century London. The group met in the studio of Robert Bevan in Cumberland Market, the old hay and straw market off Albany Street, and held one exhibition.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.Foundation E.G. Bührle
The Foundation E.G. Bührle Collection (Stiftung Sammlung E. G. Bührle) was established by the Bührle family in Zürich, Switzerland to bring to public viewing Emil Georg Bührle's important collection of European sculptures and paintings. The Foundation's art museum is in a Zurich villa adjoining Bührle's former home.Glasgow School
The Glasgow School was a circle of influential artists and designers that began to coalesce in Glasgow, Scotland in the 1870s, and flourished from the 1890s to around 1910. Representative groups included The Four (also known as the Spook School), the Glasgow Girls and the Glasgow Boys. They were responsible for creating the distinctive Glasgow Style.
Glasgow experienced an economic boom at the end of the 19th century, resulting in an increase in distinctive contributions to the Art Nouveau movement, particularly in the fields of architecture, interior design and painting.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.Jean Marchand (painter)
Jean Hippolyte Marchand (1883–1940, Paris) was a French cubist painter, printmaker and illustrator with an association with figures of the Bloomsbury Group.
Marchand was born in Paris and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under Léon Bonnat from 1902 through 1906. In 1910 his painting Still Life with Bananas was exhibited in the 1910 Manet and Post-Impressionism show organized by Roger Fry and then in a second show in 1912 organized by Fry with Clive Bell, both at the Grafton Galleries in London. This led to a kind of adoption of Marchand by the Bloomsbury circle, and his work was bought by the important British collector Samuel Courtauld.
The painter exhibited at the Salon d'Automne, the Salon des Indépendants and the Section d'Or. Marchand also produced woodcut illustrations for Paul Claudel's book, Le Chemin de la Croix, and for Paul Valery's Le Serpent in 1927.
He was married to painter and printmaker Sonia Lewitska (1880-1937).Kunstmuseum Winterthur
Kunstmuseum Winterthur (English: The Winterthur Museum of Art) is an art museum in Winterthur, Switzerland run by the local Kunstverein. From its beginnings, the activities of the Kunstverein Winterthur were focused on "contemporary art" - first Impressionism, then Post-Impressionism and especially Les Nabis, through post-World War II and recently created works by Richard Hamilton, Mario Merz and Gerhard Richter.Les Nabis
Les Nabis (French pronunciation: [le nabi]) was a group of young French artists active in Paris from 1888 until 1900, who played a large part in the transition from impressionism and academic art to abstract art, symbolism and the other early movements of modernism. The members included Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Paul Ranson, Édouard Vuillard, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Félix Vallotton, and Paul Sérusier. Most were students at the Académie Julian in Paris in the late 1880s. The artists shared a common admiration for Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne and a determination to renew the art of painting, but varied greatly in their individual style. They believed that a work of art was not a depiction of nature, but a synthesis of metaphors and symbols created by the artist.
In 1900, the artists held their final exhibit, and went their separate ways.Luminism (Impressionism)
Luminism is a late-impressionist or neo-impressionist style in painting which devotes great attention to light effects.
The term has been used for the style of the Belgian (mainly Flemish) painters such as Emile Claus and Théo van Rysselberghe and their followers (Adriaan Jozef Heymans, Anna Boch, Évariste Carpentier, Guillaume Van Strydonck, Leon de Smet, Jenny Montigny, Anna De Weert, George Morren (1868-1941), Modest Huys, Georges Buysse, Marcel Jefferys, Yvonne Serruys and Juliette Wytsman, as well as for the early pointillist work of the Dutch painters Jan Toorop, Leo Gestel, Jan Sluijters, and Piet Mondriaan.
In the Spanish painting the luminism term or Valencian luminism used for the work of a group of prominent Spanish painters led by Joaquín Sorolla, Ignacio Pinazo Camarlench, Teodoro Andreu, Francisco Benítez Mellado and Vicente Castell.
Both styles have little in common. Emile Claus's work is still close to that of the great French impressionists, especially Claude Monet, whereas Dutch luminism, characterized by the use of large color patches, is closer to fauvism.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."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.Pont-Aven School
Pont-Aven School (French: École de Pont-Aven, Breton: Skol Pont Aven) encompasses works of art influenced by Pont-Aven and its surroundings. Originally the term applied to works created in the artists' colony at Pont-Aven which started to emerge in the 1850s and lasted until the beginning of the 20th century. Many of the artists were inspired by the works of Paul Gauguin who spent extended periods in the area in the late 1880s and early 1890s. Their work is frequently characterised by the bold use of pure colour and their Symbolist choice of subject matter.Roger Fry
Roger Eliot Fry (14 December 1866 – 9 September 1934) was an English painter and critic, and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Establishing his reputation as a scholar of the Old Masters, he became an advocate of more recent developments in French painting, to which he gave the name Post-Impressionism. He was the first figure to raise public awareness of modern art in Britain, and emphasised the formal properties of paintings over the "associated ideas" conjured in the viewer by their representational content. He was described by the art historian Kenneth Clark as "incomparably the greatest influence on taste since Ruskin ... In so far as taste can be changed by one man, it was changed by Roger Fry". The taste Fry influenced was primarily that of the Anglophone world, and his success
lay largely in alerting an educated public to a compelling version of recent artistic developments of the Parisian avant-garde.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.Visual arts
The visual arts are art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, filmmaking, design, crafts, 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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