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Art Movements

Impressionism (2299)

Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that began as a loose association of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence in the 1870s and 1880s. The name of the movement is derived from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant), which provoked the critic Louis Leroy to coin the term in a satiric review published in Le Charivari.

Impressionism also describes art created in this style, but outside of the late 19th century time period.

Radicals in their time, early Impressionists broke the rules of academic painting. They began by giving colours, freely brushed, primacy over line, drawing inspiration from the work of painters such as Eugene Delacroix. They also took the act of painting out of the studio and into the modern world. Previously, still lifes and portraits as well as landscapes had usually been painted indoors. The Impressionists found that they could capture the momentary and transient effects of sunlight by painting en plein air. Painting realistic scenes of modern life, they emphasized vivid overall effects rather than details. They used short, "broken" brush strokes of pure and unmixed colour, not smoothly blended, as was customary, in order to achieve the effect of intense colour vibration.

Although the rise of Impressionism in France happened at a time when 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 developed new techniques that were specific to the movement. encompassing what its adherents argued was a different way of seeing, it was 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 it did not receive the approval of the art critics and establishment.

By re-creating the sensation in the eye that views the subject, rather than recreating the subject, and by creating a welter of techniques and forms, Impressionism became a precursor seminal to various movements in painting which would follow, including Neo-Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism.

In an atmosphere of change as emperor Napoleon III rebuilt Paris and waged war, the Academie des Beaux-Arts dominated the French art scene in the middle of the 19th century. The Academie was the upholder of traditional standards for French painting, both in content and style. Historical subjects, religious themes, and portraits were valued (landscape and still life were not), and the Academie preferred carefully finished images which mirrored reality when examined closely. Colour was somber and conservative, and the traces of brush strokes were suppressed, concealing the artist's personality, emotions, and working techniques.

The Academie held an annual, juried art show, the Salon de Paris, and artists whose work displayed in the show won prizes, garnered commissions, and enhanced their prestige. The standards of the juries reflected the values of the Academie, represented by the highly polished works of such artists as Jean-Leon Gerome and Alexandre Cabanel. Some younger artists painted in a lighter and brighter manner than painters of the preceding generation, extending further the realism of Gustave Courbet and the Barbizon school. They were more interested in painting landscape and contemporary life than in recreating scenes from history. each year, they submitted their art to the Salon, only to see the juries reject their best efforts in favour of trivial works by artists working in the approved style. A core group of young realists, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Frederic Bazille, who had studied under Charles Gleyre, became friends and often painted together. They soon were joined by Camille Pissarro, Paul Cezanne, and Armand Guillaumin.

In 1863, the jury rejected The Luncheon on the Grass (Le dejeuner sur l'herbe) by Edouard Manet primarily because it depicted a nude woman with two clothed men at a picnic. While nudes were routinely accepted by the Salon when featured in historical and allegorical paintings, the jury condemned Manet for placing a realistic nude in a contemporary setting. The jury's sharply worded rejection of Manet's painting, as well as the unusually large number of rejected works that year, set off a firestorm among French artists. Manet was admired by Monet and his friends, and led the discussions at Cafe Guerbois where the group of artists frequently met.

Artists' petitions requesting a new Salon des Refuses in 1867, and again in 1872, were denied. In the latter part of 1873, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, and Sisley organized the Societe Anonyme Cooperative des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs ("Cooperative and Anonymous Association of Painters, Sculptors, and engravers") for the purpose of exhibiting their artworks independently. Members of the association, which soon included Cezanne, Berthe Morisot, and Edgar Degas, were expected to forswear participation in the Salon. The organizers invited a number of other progressive artists to join them in their inaugural exhibition, including the slightly older eugene Boudin, whose example had first persuaded Monet to take up plein air painting years before. Another painter who greatly influenced Monet and his friends, Johan Jongkind, declined to participate, as did Manet. In total, thirty artists participated in their first exhibition, held in April 1874 at the studio of the photographer Nadar. Claude Monet, The Cliff at etretat after the Storm, 1885, Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts

The critical response was mixed, with Monet and Cezanne bearing the harshest attacks. Critic and humorist Louis Leroy wrote a scathing review in the Le Charivari newspaper 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 would become 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.

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. Renoir turned against Impressionism for a time in the 1880s, and never entirely regained his commitment to its ideas. Edouard Manet, despite his role as a leader to the group, never abandoned his liberal use of black as a colour, and never participated in the Impressionist exhibitions. He continued to submit his works to the Salon, where his 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.

Among the artists of the core group (minus Bazille, who had died in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870), defections occurred as Cezanne, followed later by Renoir, Sisley, and Monet, abstained from the group exhibitions in order to submit their works to the Salon. Disagreements arose from issues such as uillaumin's membership in the group, championed by Pissarro and Cezanne against opposition from Monet and Degas, who thought him unworthy. Degas invited Mary Cassatt to display her work in the 1879 exhibition, but he also caused dissention by insisting on the inclusion of Jean-Francois Raffaelli, Ludovic Lepic, and other realists who did not represent Impressionist practices, leading Monet in 1880 to accuse the Impressionists of "opening doors to first-come daubers". The group divided over the invitation of Signac and Seurat to exhibit with them in 1886. Pissarro was the only artist to show at all eight Impressionist exhibitions.

The individual artists saw few financial rewards from the Impressionist exhibitions, but their art gradually won a degree of public acceptance. 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 would die in poverty in 1899, Renoir had a great Salon success in 1879. Financial security came to Monet in the early 1880s and to Pissarro by the early 1890s. By this time the methods of Impressionist painting, in a diluted form, had become commonplace in Salon art.

Painters throughout history had occasionally used these methods, but Impressionists were the first to use all of them together, and with such boldness. earlier artists whose works display these techniques include Frans Hals, Diego Velazquez, Peter Paul Rubens, John Constable, and J. M. W. Turner.

French painters who prepared the way for Impressionism include the Romantic colourist Eugene Delacroix, the leader of the realists Gustave Courbet, and painters of the Barbizon school such as Theodore Rousseau. The Impressionists learned much from the work of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Eugene Boudin, who painted from nature in a style that was close to Impressionism, and who befriended and advised the younger artists.

Prior to the Impressionists, other painters, notably such 17th-century Dutch painters as Jan Steen, had focused on common subjects, but their approaches to composition were traditional. They arranged their compositions in such a way that the main subject commanded the viewer's attention. 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. Photography was gaining popularity, and as cameras became more portable, photographs became more candid. Photography inspired Impressionists to capture the moment, not only in the fleeting lights of a landscape, but in the day-to-day lives of people.

The rise of the impressionist movement can be seen in part as a reaction by artists to the newly established medium of photography. The taking of fixed or still images challenged painters by providing a new medium with which to capture reality. Initially photography's presence seemed to undermine the artist's depiction of nature and their ability to mirror reality. Both portrait and landscape paintings were deemed somewhat deficient and lacking in truth as photography "produced lifelike images much more efficiently and reliably". Alfred Sisley, View of the Saint-Martin Canal, Paris, 1870, Musee d'Orsay

Another major influence was Japanese art prints (Japonism), which had originally come into France as wrapping paper for imported goods. The art of these prints contributed significantly to the "snapshot" angles and unconventional compositions which would become characteristic of the movement.

Edgar Degas was both an avid photographer and a collector of Japanese prints. 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.

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The Garden

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
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$269

Paris Street; Rainy Day 1877

By Gustave Caillebotte
Sizes starting at
$289

Dance at Le Moulin De La Galette

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
Sizes starting at
$279

Haystacks (Meules) 1890

By Claude Monet
Sizes starting at
$229

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose 1885

By John Singer Sargent
Sizes starting at
$249

The Garden Pool

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
Sizes starting at
$279

The Floor Planers 1875

By Gustave Caillebotte
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$279

Luncheon of the Boating Party

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
Sizes starting at
$279

Nympheas En Fleur

By Claude Monet
Sizes starting at
$219

Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau)

By John Singer Sargent
Sizes starting at
$339

Grainstack, Impression In Pinks and Blues, 1891

By Claude Monet
Sizes starting at
$229

Portrait of Lady agnew of Lochnaw 1892

By John Singer Sargent
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$259

Grey Day On The River

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
Sizes starting at
$259

Le Pont De L’Europe (The Europe Bride), 1876

By Gustave Caillebotte
Sizes starting at
$289

Pont Neuf, Paris

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
Sizes starting at
$229

On The River

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
Sizes starting at
$259

Rooftops in the Snow (Snow Effect) 1878

By Gustave Caillebotte
Sizes starting at
$229

Venice (The Doge’s Palace)

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
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$269

Water Lilies, 1919

By Claude Monet
Sizes starting at
$289

Morning Walk 1888

By John Singer Sargent
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$229

Nymphéas

By Claude Monet
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$209

The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit 1882

By John Singer Sargent
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$229

Foxgloves

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
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$259

Nude on a Couch 1880

By Gustave Caillebotte
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$249

Two Sisters (On the Terrace) 1881

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
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$259

Sunspots

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
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$279

L'homme Au Balcon, Boulevard Haussmann

By Gustave Caillebotte
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$229

The Umbrellas

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
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$299

Nymphéas (1905)

By Claude Monet
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$209

Group With Parasols (a Siesta)

By John Singer Sargent
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$239

Man at His Bath

By Gustave Caillebotte
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$229

The Swing 1876

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
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$269

Nymphéas

By Claude Monet
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$219

El Jaleo, 1882

By John Singer Sargent
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$289

Cherry Blossoms

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
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$259

Yellow Tulips

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
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$239

Chrysanthemums in the Garden at Petit-Gennevilliers 1893

By Gustave Caillebotte
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$249

Pink and Blue – the Cahen D´anvers Girls 1881

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
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$299

Le Pont Du Chemin De Fer à Argenteuil

By Claude Monet
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$259

Girl Fishing

By John Singer Sargent
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$249

The Garden Path

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
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$259

Richard Gallo Et Son Chien Dick, Au Petit-Gennevilliers 1884

By Gustave Caillebotte
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$269

A Girl with a Watering Can

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
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$279

The Houses of Parliament, at Sunset

By Claude Monet
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$219

Bedouins

By John Singer Sargent
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$239

The Fountain, Villa Torlonia, Frascati, Italy 1907

By John Singer Sargent
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$219

The Kitchen Door

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
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$259

Chemin Montant 1881

By Gustave Caillebotte
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$229

Two Young Girls at the Piano 1892

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
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$269

Water Lilies, 1904

By Claude Monet
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$219

La Poudreuse (Woman Selecting A Necklace)

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
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$229

Floor-Scrapers 1876

By Gustave Caillebotte
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$259

Mme. Charpentier and Her Children, 1878

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
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$259

Le Grand Canal

By Claude Monet
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$229

Girl Reading By a Stream 1888

By John Singer Sargent
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$219

Waterloo bridge, overcast weather 1904

By Claude Monet
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$249

Lake O'hara 1916

By John Singer Sargent
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$229

The Lattice Gate

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
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$259

On the Pont De L’europe

By Gustave Caillebotte
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$219

By the Water

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
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$249

The Hammock

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
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$249

Le Pont D'argenteuil Et La Seine 1883-2

By Gustave Caillebotte
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$229

Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
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$269

San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk

By Claude Monet
Sizes starting at
$239

Claude Monet Painting By the Edge of a Wood 1885-2

By John Singer Sargent
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$229

The Seine and the Railroad Bridge at Argenteuil-2

By Gustave Caillebotte
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$229

La Grenouillère 1869

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
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$259

Bain à La Grenouillère

By Claude Monet
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$229

San Geremia 1913

By John Singer Sargent
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$229

Woman With Parasol

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
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$259

In The Boudoir

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
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$279

Fruit Displayed on a Stand

By Gustave Caillebotte
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$239

Bathing on the Seine 1869

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
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$279

Bathers at La Grenouillère

By Claude Monet
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$229

The Bridge of Sighs

By John Singer Sargent
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$239

Afternoon - Yellow Room

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
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$229

Calf's Head and Ox Tongue 1882

By Gustave Caillebotte
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$229

La Grenouillere

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
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$299

Impression, Soleil Levant 1872

By Claude Monet
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$229

Gassed 1919

By John Singer Sargent
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$349

Hollyhocks

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
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$229

La Seine à Argenteuil 1882

By Gustave Caillebotte
Sizes starting at
$219

Dancer

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
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$299

Camille Monet In Japanese Costume, 1876

By Claude Monet
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$329

Dennis Miller Bunker Painting at Calcot 1888

By John Singer Sargent
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$209

The Japanese Parasol

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
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$259

La Seine à Argenteuil, Bateaux Au Mouillage 1883

By Gustave Caillebotte
Sizes starting at
$219

The Blue Lady

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
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$289

Woman With A Parasol - Madame Monet and Her Son

By Claude Monet
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$259

A Boating Party

By John Singer Sargent
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$209

The Bridge at Argenteuil, 1874

By Claude Monet
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$239

Paul Helleu Sketching With His Wife 1889

By John Singer Sargent
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$219

The Garden Parasol

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
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$279

Skiffs 1877

By Gustave Caillebotte
Sizes starting at
$229

Algerian Girl

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
Sizes starting at
$259

The Garden Umbrella

By Frederick Carl Frieseke
Sizes starting at
$229

Canoe on the Yerres River 1878

By Gustave Caillebotte
Sizes starting at
$219

By the Seashore

By Pierre Auguste Renoir
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$259

Garden at Sainte-Adresse

By Claude Monet
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$279

The Sketchers 1913

By John Singer Sargent
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$219

Impressionism (2299)

Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that began as a loose association of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence in the 1870s and 1880s. The name of the movement is derived from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant), which provoked the critic Louis Leroy to coin the term in a satiric review published in Le Charivari.

Impressionism also describes art created in this style, but outside of the late 19th century time period.

Radicals in their time, early Impressionists broke the rules of academic painting. They began by giving colours, freely brushed, primacy over line, drawing inspiration from the work of painters such as Eugene Delacroix. They also took the act of painting out of the studio and into the modern world. Previously, still lifes and portraits as well as landscapes had usually been painted indoors. The Impressionists found that they could capture the momentary and transient effects of sunlight by painting en plein air. Painting realistic scenes of modern life, they emphasized vivid overall effects rather than details. They used short, "broken" brush strokes of pure and unmixed colour, not smoothly blended, as was customary, in order to achieve the effect of intense colour vibration.

Although the rise of Impressionism in France happened at a time when 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 developed new techniques that were specific to the movement. encompassing what its adherents argued was a different way of seeing, it was 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 it did not receive the approval of the art critics and establishment.

By re-creating the sensation in the eye that views the subject, rather than recreating the subject, and by creating a welter of techniques and forms, Impressionism became a precursor seminal to various movements in painting which would follow, including Neo-Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism.

In an atmosphere of change as emperor Napoleon III rebuilt Paris and waged war, the Academie des Beaux-Arts dominated the French art scene in the middle of the 19th century. The Academie was the upholder of traditional standards for French painting, both in content and style. Historical subjects, religious themes, and portraits were valued (landscape and still life were not), and the Academie preferred carefully finished images which mirrored reality when examined closely. Colour was somber and conservative, and the traces of brush strokes were suppressed, concealing the artist's personality, emotions, and working techniques.

The Academie held an annual, juried art show, the Salon de Paris, and artists whose work displayed in the show won prizes, garnered commissions, and enhanced their prestige. The standards of the juries reflected the values of the Academie, represented by the highly polished works of such artists as Jean-Leon Gerome and Alexandre Cabanel. Some younger artists painted in a lighter and brighter manner than painters of the preceding generation, extending further the realism of Gustave Courbet and the Barbizon school. They were more interested in painting landscape and contemporary life than in recreating scenes from history. each year, they submitted their art to the Salon, only to see the juries reject their best efforts in favour of trivial works by artists working in the approved style. A core group of young realists, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Frederic Bazille, who had studied under Charles Gleyre, became friends and often painted together. They soon were joined by Camille Pissarro, Paul Cezanne, and Armand Guillaumin.

In 1863, the jury rejected The Luncheon on the Grass (Le dejeuner sur l'herbe) by Edouard Manet primarily because it depicted a nude woman with two clothed men at a picnic. While nudes were routinely accepted by the Salon when featured in historical and allegorical paintings, the jury condemned Manet for placing a realistic nude in a contemporary setting. The jury's sharply worded rejection of Manet's painting, as well as the unusually large number of rejected works that year, set off a firestorm among French artists. Manet was admired by Monet and his friends, and led the discussions at Cafe Guerbois where the group of artists frequently met.

Artists' petitions requesting a new Salon des Refuses in 1867, and again in 1872, were denied. In the latter part of 1873, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, and Sisley organized the Societe Anonyme Cooperative des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs ("Cooperative and Anonymous Association of Painters, Sculptors, and engravers") for the purpose of exhibiting their artworks independently. Members of the association, which soon included Cezanne, Berthe Morisot, and Edgar Degas, were expected to forswear participation in the Salon. The organizers invited a number of other progressive artists to join them in their inaugural exhibition, including the slightly older eugene Boudin, whose example had first persuaded Monet to take up plein air painting years before. Another painter who greatly influenced Monet and his friends, Johan Jongkind, declined to participate, as did Manet. In total, thirty artists participated in their first exhibition, held in April 1874 at the studio of the photographer Nadar. Claude Monet, The Cliff at etretat after the Storm, 1885, Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts

The critical response was mixed, with Monet and Cezanne bearing the harshest attacks. Critic and humorist Louis Leroy wrote a scathing review in the Le Charivari newspaper 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 would become 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.

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. Renoir turned against Impressionism for a time in the 1880s, and never entirely regained his commitment to its ideas. Edouard Manet, despite his role as a leader to the group, never abandoned his liberal use of black as a colour, and never participated in the Impressionist exhibitions. He continued to submit his works to the Salon, where his 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.

Among the artists of the core group (minus Bazille, who had died in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870), defections occurred as Cezanne, followed later by Renoir, Sisley, and Monet, abstained from the group exhibitions in order to submit their works to the Salon. Disagreements arose from issues such as uillaumin's membership in the group, championed by Pissarro and Cezanne against opposition from Monet and Degas, who thought him unworthy. Degas invited Mary Cassatt to display her work in the 1879 exhibition, but he also caused dissention by insisting on the inclusion of Jean-Francois Raffaelli, Ludovic Lepic, and other realists who did not represent Impressionist practices, leading Monet in 1880 to accuse the Impressionists of "opening doors to first-come daubers". The group divided over the invitation of Signac and Seurat to exhibit with them in 1886. Pissarro was the only artist to show at all eight Impressionist exhibitions.

The individual artists saw few financial rewards from the Impressionist exhibitions, but their art gradually won a degree of public acceptance. 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 would die in poverty in 1899, Renoir had a great Salon success in 1879. Financial security came to Monet in the early 1880s and to Pissarro by the early 1890s. By this time the methods of Impressionist painting, in a diluted form, had become commonplace in Salon art.

Painters throughout history had occasionally used these methods, but Impressionists were the first to use all of them together, and with such boldness. earlier artists whose works display these techniques include Frans Hals, Diego Velazquez, Peter Paul Rubens, John Constable, and J. M. W. Turner.

French painters who prepared the way for Impressionism include the Romantic colourist Eugene Delacroix, the leader of the realists Gustave Courbet, and painters of the Barbizon school such as Theodore Rousseau. The Impressionists learned much from the work of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Eugene Boudin, who painted from nature in a style that was close to Impressionism, and who befriended and advised the younger artists.

Prior to the Impressionists, other painters, notably such 17th-century Dutch painters as Jan Steen, had focused on common subjects, but their approaches to composition were traditional. They arranged their compositions in such a way that the main subject commanded the viewer's attention. 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. Photography was gaining popularity, and as cameras became more portable, photographs became more candid. Photography inspired Impressionists to capture the moment, not only in the fleeting lights of a landscape, but in the day-to-day lives of people.

The rise of the impressionist movement can be seen in part as a reaction by artists to the newly established medium of photography. The taking of fixed or still images challenged painters by providing a new medium with which to capture reality. Initially photography's presence seemed to undermine the artist's depiction of nature and their ability to mirror reality. Both portrait and landscape paintings were deemed somewhat deficient and lacking in truth as photography "produced lifelike images much more efficiently and reliably". Alfred Sisley, View of the Saint-Martin Canal, Paris, 1870, Musee d'Orsay

Another major influence was Japanese art prints (Japonism), which had originally come into France as wrapping paper for imported goods. The art of these prints contributed significantly to the "snapshot" angles and unconventional compositions which would become characteristic of the movement.

Edgar Degas was both an avid photographer and a collector of Japanese prints. 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.

Read more