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Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 1 year, 6 months ago


Topics on the Page


What is Impressionism


Pierre-Auguste Renoir


Eva Gonzales


Claude Monet


Mary Cassatt


Vincent Van Gogh and Post-Impressionism



Monet's Impression Sunrise, 1875


Monet's Impression Sunrise, 1875


What is Impressionism


What do you think of this painting?  Can you tell what it depicts? 


It was painted in a style that came to be known as "Impressionism," which got its name from this painting. 


The name came about when the art critic Louis Leroy wrote a negative review of an exhibition featuring this and similar paintings by the likes of Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cezanne, and Edgar Degas. 


See an explanation of this painting and of this story here.  Think about the non-representational art of today.  Some people reject it just as Leroy rejected this now loved style of painting.


So what is Impressionism? 


  • Impressionism was an artistic movement that started around 1876. 


  • The artists that made up the movement had been rejected by the French Academy.  They sought to capture the essence of a scene, what might be remembered if it was only glimpsed. 


  • They focused on the use of natural light, and often painted series of the same subject in different lighting, like Monet's series on haystacks.  Impressionists also differed from tradition by painting modern, urban scenes.


  • Artists of other sorts, like Charles Baudelaire (author of The Flowers of Evil) and composer Claude Debussy were inspired by the same approach.


By the 1880s, another group of artists started the Post-Impressionist movement.  Among the artists of the new movement were Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and George Seurat.  This and the previous paragraph draw their information from this video.


For any overview of impressionism, click here!


Who were the key impressionists and what are some of their works?


Pierre-Auguste Renoir:


Coming from humble beginnings, Renoir started as a porcelain painting apprentice.  Later he briefly served in the Franco-Prussian war before getting dysentery.  He went on to help found this movement.  He was friends with realist/romanticist authors Gustave Flaubert (Madame Bovary) and Emile Zola (J'accuse, a key piece in the Dreyfus Affair).  Here is his biography.



Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881


Dance in the City, 1883


Bal du Moulin de la Gallette, 1876


Eva Gonzales: Like other female artists, Gonzales could not attend the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.  She was fortunate, though, to meet avant-garde painter Edouard Manet, and to be accepted as his only student.  In another misfortune only affecting women, she died at 34 during childbirth.  Despite such a young passing, she produced many brilliant works.  For these and other details of Gonzales' life, see here.


A Box at the Italian Theater, 1874.


The Donkey Ride, 1880


Roses in a Glass, c1880-1882


Monet Portrait by Renoir, 1875


Monet Portrait by Renoir, 1875

Claude Monet: Monet struggled with depression throughout his life, and following the death of his wife Camille he made a dark Ice Drift series.  He did several studies of the same object in different lights, like the Haystack series discussed above.  For these and other details of Monet's life, see here.



One of the Ice Drift series



The Water Lily Pond, 1899



San Giorgio at Dusk, 1908






Mary Cassatt Self Portrait (1878)



Mary Cassatt:


Cassatt grew up in Allegheny City, PA, though she later moved to France.  She was able to go to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, but was patronized by her male colleagues.  She was friends with an inspired by Edgar Degas, but achieved her own distinctive style. 


Much of her art focuses on female subjects and on the tender love of mothers for children.


Biography here.


Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, 1878


Young Mother Sewing, 1900


The Cup of Tea, 1880


Explore a collection of her works on Wikipedia


Try this lesson plan from the Getty Museum in which students examine Impressionist paintings that depict adolescent workers.  They can then compare the subjects' experiences to their own.


For insights into changes in art in the last half of the 19th century, see Monet and the Impressionists from the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Go to the bottom of page and click on the link to Monet Education Slideshow (including Monet short film).

For more, see Impressionism from the WebMuseum, Paris.

See also Impressionism: Art and Modernity from the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art.


Vincent Van Gogh and Post-Impressionism


Welcome to the Vincent Van Gogh Gallery



Listen to Vincent Van Gogh performed by Jonathan Richman 


Here is the same song by The Squirrels



Impressionist Jeopardy!


Click Here to see a timeline of impressionist artwork.

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