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Post-Impressionism C.1879-1910 “The artist as himself” Impressionists held their last show in 1874- had gained wide acceptance (Monet was made a chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French Government) No longer a pioneering movement “Post-Impressionism” doesn’t explain much!

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“The artist as himself”


Impressionists held their last show in 1874- had gained wide acceptance (Monet was made a chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French Government)

  • No longer a pioneering movement
  • “Post-Impressionism” doesn’t explain much!
  • Describes artists who tried Impressionism, but were dissatisfied with its limitations- went beyond it but in dissimilar styles
  • Some thought that Impressionists were neglecting traditional elements of picture making
  • Wanted to carry the ideas of Impressionism further- were not anti-Impressionists- can see its influence in Post-Impressionism

Paul Cezanne 1839-1906

  • Did not share Impressionist love for everyday scenes
  • Search for harmony of form and color- very disciplined application of paint- every brushstroke mattered
  • Put colors next to each other that created “chords” of warm and cool colors throughout the painting

Cezanne, Self-Portrait, c. 1879


Cezanne, Still-Life with Apples, 1890

  • Master of still-lifes
  • Quest for “solid and durable” - Chardin’s sense of the importance of everyday objects
  • Pattern of brushstrokes give the painting a shimmering feel
  • Forms are deliberately simplified and outlined with dark colors
  • Perspective is deliberately wrong
  • Believed that all forms in nature are based upon the cone, sphere, and cylinder

Applying this theory to landscapes became the challenge of his career

  • From 1882 on, he lived in isolation and painted his surroundings
  • Made a series of paintings about this mountain
  • Has a disciplined energy

Cezanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from Bibemus Quarry, 1897-1900


George Seurat, The Bathers, 1883-84

  • George Seurat (1859-1891) short lifetime, very influential (like Caravaggio)
  • Devoted to just a few large paintings- spent over a year on each, making many studies
  • Similar colors and light, but opposite of the quick feel of the Impressionists
  • Immobile figures, ordered surface- search for permanence
  • Uses flicks and later dots of paint that combine to create the image-idea from Cezanne

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

  • Opposite- tried to make Impressionism less ordered
  • Emotions were more important than order
  • 1st great Dutch master since the 17th century-worked for only 10 years, no conventional art training-clumsy forms
  • Main energy was landscape painting, much different than cezanne

Vincent Van Gogh, Wheat Fields and Cypress Trees, 1889

  • Earth and sky are turbulent and filled with emotion- all in motion
  • Artist’s personal handwriting is all important, although to Van Gogh, color was his means of expression- often gave meanings to specific colors and used them over and over again

To portray the essence of himself

  • Wanted to portray humans as holy enough to deserve a halo (from past art)
  • Believed that art alone made his life worth living

Van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1889


Devoted himself to art at the age of 35

  • Became the leader of the Symbolist movement
  • Believed that Western civilization was out of joint
  • Left Paris and studied peasant life in Western France
  • Pre-Renaissance style- flat, simplified shapes, outlined in black- like stained glass-stressed return to Primitive (Egypt, Near East)
  • Moved to Tahiti to learn simplicity from the natives

Paul Gauguin, The Vision After the Sermon (Jacob Wrestling With the Angel), 1888


Followers of Gauguin called themselves the “Nabis”, meaning prophets

  • Spread the word of Post-Impressionism: “The Picture- before being a war horse, a female nude, or some anecdote-is essentially a flat surface covered with colors in a particular order”
  • Small and intimate pictures
  • Color mosaics, economy of means

Edward Vuillard, Repast in a Garde, 1898


Looked to an intense inner world (pretty disturbing)

  • Adopted Impressionist palette and brushstroke but for a completely different end
  • Imagination becomes visible
  • Illogical and solely based on imagination- themes often used by the surrealists

Odilon Redon, The Cyclops, 1898


Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, At the Moulin Rouge, 1892

  • A preoccupation with decadence, evil, and darkness was popular- reflected the dissatisfaction with modern life
  • Toulouse-Lautrec was the physical incarnation of this- disfigured, shady, and full of mystery- died of alcoholism
  • Admirer of Degas- how can you tell?
  • Joyless and oppressive environment

Edvard Munch, Ashes, 1893

  • Continuation of the macabre theme
  • Norweigien who moved to Paris
  • Painted frightening apparitions, using undulating, never-ending rhythms
  • Generated much controversy when his works were exhibited
  • Broke off from the accepted artists in Germany and formed the Berlin Secession-became an international movement

Joined the Berlin Secessionists when it spread to Vienna

  • Close ties to the Art Nouveau decoration movement
  • Full of both of eroticism and images of a joyless life

Gustav Klimt, Three Ages of Woman, 1907


Henri Rousseau, The Dream, 1910

  • Discovered by Picasso- no art training, began painting at the age of 46 (there is hope for all of us!)
  • A folk artist genius! Magical and enchanted world
  • Innocence like Gauguin preached

Inspired by Primitivism like Gauguin and the purity of Russian peasant life

  • Intense color of the Fauvists to come
  • Very expressive and unique
  • Simplified forms inspired Picasso

Modersohn-Becker, Self Portrait, 1906


Wave of modern buildings in Chicago because of the great fire of 1871

  • The first “Sky Scraper”
  • Based on Renaissance ideas
  • Internal steel skeleton- any type of material could be “stretched” across it
  • Thought of buildings as humans- with a skeleton and muscles
  • Thank you Elisha Otis!
  • Form follows function in a two-way relationship
  • Louis Sullivan, Wainwright Building, St. Louis, Missouri, 1890-91

The Arts and Crafts Movement

In England

William Morris, Green Dining Room, 1867

  • A reaction against industrialization- Morris had a distrust of machines and industrial capitalism
  • Advocated an art made by and for the people- a joy for the maker and the user- partly a socialist idea
  • Functional objects with high aesthetic value for the wide public- based on natural forms, repeated floral or geometric patterns
  • Patterns from Floor to ceiling- produced wallpaper, textiles, tiles, furniture, books, rugs, stained glass, and pottery

Antonio Gaudi, Casa Mila, 1907

  • An international architectural and design movement developed out of the Arts and Crafts Movement and inspired by Japanese printmaking and Van Gogh- ART NOVEAU
  • Art based on natural forms that could be mass produced for a large audience
  • Gaudi’s building takes its cues from Moorish architecture and from recent finds from the discovery of Altamira
  • Conceived as a whole, almost sculpted like a sculpture-undulating and rhythmic like an organic form

The other extreme of Art Noveau Architecture

  • Similar to Sullivan’s aesthetic
  • Sculpted like Gaudi’s out of one idea

Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Glasgow School of Art, 1896-1910


Louis Comfort Tiffany

  • 1848-1933
  • Headed Tiffany and Company which was started by his father
  • Experimented with stained glass techniques, creating a patent for opalescent glass
  • Many, many copies were made of his designs and technique
  • Produced perfume bottles, tiles, desk furniture and most importantly WINDOWS!
  • Contributed to the spread of the Art Noveau style