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Impressionism. The movement has its roots in: Romanticism (feelings and emotions) AND the Realists (challenging the academies) The term is coined from a Monet painting titled, Impression: Sunrise

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The movement has its roots in: Romanticism (feelings and emotions) AND the Realists (challenging the academies)

The term is coined from a Monet painting titled, Impression: Sunrise

The Impressionists exhibited together at eight shows between 1874 and 1886 (this does not mean they were always in complete agreement with each other!)


Painting captures an impression—a moment

Brushwork: short and choppy

The effects of light on color! Plein Air (painting outside)

Limited use of black paint—Shadows created with dark green, blue, purple, and brown

Juxtaposition of complementary colors to create vibrancy

Creative, cropped compositions with unusual angles

For most, the Parisian middle class--bourgeoisie

Impressionists: What they have in Common

Originally used for the French military—the units that advanced further from the troops

In art, those that led the way with bold concepts and works— “Ahead of the mainstream”

Generally, they were misunderstood by the public and rejected by the salons

When a style becomes mainstream (Impressionism does in the 1890s), it’s no longer considered avant-garde

The Avant-Garde

CLAUDE MONET, Impression: Sunrise, 1872*. Oil on canvas, 1’ 7 1/2” x 2’ 1 1/2”. Musée Marmottan, Paris.

At 19, moves to Paris but rejects the conventional training of the Ecole des Beaux Arts, instead choosing the more relaxed private schools

His wealthy family cuts him off, his wife dies and leaves him with two children, so he moves to Giverny

In 1890, he buys property in Giverny and employs six gardeners

Towards the end of his life, lives like a recluse with extremely failing eyesight


CLAUDE MONET, Rouen Cathedral: The Portal (in Sun), 1894*. Oil on canvas, 3’ 3 1/4” x 2’ 1 7/8”. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

CLAUDE MONET, Saint-Lazare Train Station, 1877*. Oil on canvas, 2’ 5 3/4” x 3’ 5”. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. (Industrialization )

GUSTAVE CAILLEBOTTE, Paris: A Rainy Day, 1877*. Oil on canvas, 6’ 9” x 9’ 9”. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

Wealthy engineer and boat builder who befriends the Impressionists

Helped to finance Impressionist exhibitions and collected more than 60 pieces of their work—these were left to the French people when he died

Although not with loose brushwork, subject matter and composition make it an Impressionist work


PIERRE-AUGUSTE RENOIR, Le Moulin de la Galette, 1876*. Oil on canvas, 4’ 3” x 5’ 8”. Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

Most famous for genre paintings of the bourgeoisie of Paris (females)

Friends with Monet

Used the model, Suzanne Valadon in paintings

In 1892, developed severe rheumatoid arthritis but continued to paint for over twenty years


ÉDOUARD MANET, Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1882*. Oil on canvas, 3’ 1” x 4’ 3”. Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, London.

Influences Impressionism and in turn, they influence him

Never exhibited with the Impressionists

His style is hard to pinpoint (Realism? Impressionism?)

Died at age 51, after complications due to syphilis and arthritis


Focused on the female like Renoir

Classically trained (outstanding draughtsman). Considered an Impressionist but rejected the term for “realist” instead

Known for interior scenes—not “plein air” and did not adopt the same brushwork

Although his works looks “spontaneous”, he produced MANY sketches beforehand but photography also affects his composition

Later, his compositions adopt a “peering through a keyhole” approach and are influenced by Japanese woodblock prints


EDGAR DEGAS, Ballet Rehearsal, 1874*. Oil on canvas, 1’ 11” x 2’ 9”. Glasgow Art Galleries and Museum, Glasgow

Degas, The Rehearsal on Stage, c.1874*, pastel over brush and ink

Metropolitan Museum of Art

American (studied in Philadelphia), ex-patriot in Paris

Degas encouraged her to participate in the 4th Impressionist exhibition

Both Degas and Cassatt did not paint “en plein air”—focused on the domestic and social life of wealthy women

Influenced by Degas and Japanese prints


MARY CASSATT, The Bath, ca. 1892*. Oil on canvas, 3’ 3” x 2’ 2”. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

Mary Cassatt

Maternal Caress


Drypoint, soft-ground etching, and aquatint on paper

Married to Eduoard Manet’s brother

Exhibited with the Impressionists

Focused on outdoor leisure of Parisian middle-class (weekends to resorts at sea or the Seine)—with a sense of melancholy

Most paintings contain a main female figure, loose brushwork, natural light and color


BERTHE MORISOT, Villa at the Seaside, 1874*. Oil on canvas, 1’ 7 3/4” x 2’ 1/8". Norton Simon Art Foundation, Los Angeles.


In 1850, Japan opens itself to trade with the west

Culture captivates Parisians: Japonisme

A large exhibition of Japanese wood-block prints in 1890 influences ENORMOUSLY!

Ukiyo-e— “floating world”

These prints are inexpensive and many Impressionists collected them

Japanese Wood-block Prints

Hokusai, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, ca. 1826-1833

Left: EDGAR DEGAS, The Tub, 1886. Pastel, 1’ 11 ½” X 2’ 8 3/8”. Musee d’Orsay, Paris. Right: TORII KIYONAGA, detail of Two Women at the Bath, ca. 1780. Color woodblock, full print 10 ½” X 7 ½”, detail 3 ¾” X 3 ½”. Musee Guimet, Paris.

Monet with his collection of ukiyo-e

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