Art Style: Impressionism
Custom Framed Impressionist Art and Post-Impressionist Fine Art Prints
At Framed-Arts.com, we offer a wide selection of custom framed Impressionist art and Post-Impressionist fine art prints, from art work by Edgar Degas to framed Van Gogh posters. The Impressionistic works we feature can be browsed from our custom search page, while this page contains information on Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Frédéric Bazille, as well as facts on Edouard Manet, Paul Cezanne, Mary Cassatt and other Impressionist artists. Read on to find out how Impressionism got its name and gained its footing in the late 19th century art world of France.
Impressionism and Post-Impressionism
“Impressionism” refers to an art movement that began in the 1860s as a loose association of a group of Paris-based painters. The name was first coined by critic Louis Leroy in an 1874 article, “The Exhibition of the Impressionists.” Leroy based the title of his largely derisive review on Claude Monet’s piece, Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise). The term quickly gained favor with the public, and was even accepted by the artists themselves, a diverse group unified primarily by their spirit of independence.
Impressionist paintings include characteristics such as visible brushstrokes, open composition, changing light, ordinary subjects, movement, and unusual visual angles. The emergence of Impressionism in the visual arts was soon followed by similar movements in other media, which became known as Impressionist music and Impressionist literature. “Impressionism” also describes art created in this style in the 20th century and beyond.
Early Impressionists were considered radicals in their time, and sought to break the academic rules of painting. In the 1860s, A core group of young realists, Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Frédéric Bazille, became friends and often painted together. They soon were joined by Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, and Armand Guillaumin, and, later, Gustave Caillebotte, Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, and Berthe Morisot. Though not all of these painters considered themselves “Impressionists,” they nevertheless made up the central figures in the Impressionist movement.
Drawing inspiration from the work of such painters as Eugene Delacroix, these artists developed the following “Impressionist” techniques:
Although the rise of French Impressionism took place at a time when a number of other painters were exploring outdoor painting, the Impressionists developed new techniques that were specific to their movement. Impressionist painting, its adherents argued, represented a different way of seeing. It was an art of movement, of candid poses and compositions, of the play of light expressed through a bright and varied use of color.
Between 1874 and 1886, eight Impressionist exhibitions were held in Paris. Initially, the exhibitions were poorly received by both the 19th century art establishment and a hostile public. But while the artists themselves reaped few financial rewards from the Impressionist exhibitions, their work gradually won a degree of public acceptance. Durand-Ruel, a French art dealer, 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 achieved financial success in 1879, Monet in the early 1880s, and Pissarro in the early 1890s. By this time the methods of Impressionist painting, in diluted form, had become commonplace in Salon art.
The effects of Impressionism on the art world were far-reaching. By focusing on recreating the sensation in the eye that views the subject, rather than on recreating the subject itself, and by creating so many new techniques and forms, Impressionism was seminal to various painting movements that followed, including Neo-Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism.
Post-Impressionism developed directly from the Impressionist movement. Beginning in the 1880s, a group of artists began to develop precepts for the use of color, pattern, form, and line, derived from Impressionism: Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. These artists were slightly younger than the original Impressionists, and their collective work is known as post-Impressionism.
A few of the original Impressionists also ventured into this new territory. Pissarro briefly painted in a pointillist manner, and even Monet abandoned strict plein air painting. Cézanne, who participated in the first and third Impressionist exhibitions, developed a highly individualized vision that emphasized pictorial structure. As a result, he is often called a post-Impressionist.
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Monet is widely considered the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the Impressionist movement's philosophy and techniques. For more information on Claude Monet, including a brief biography, please see our separate page on the renowned Impressionist artist. You can also browse our selection of custom framed Impressionist art (including art work by Edgar Degas) and Post-Impressionist fine art prints (including framed Van Gogh posters) by visiting our custom search page. Happy print hunting, and please contact us with any questions.