Impressionism was an art movement that came up in the 19th century in France. Critic Louis Leroy coined the term in a satiric review on Impression, the work of art by Claude Monet. Claude Monet was the founder of the French Impressionist Painting.
Impressionist art is a style of art characterized by unique visual angles, prominently evident brush strokes and an open composition. The art form emphasizes on the changing patterns of light to indicate the passage of time. It deals with capturing an object as if someone has caught just a glimpse of it. Hence, images have lesser details. But the paintings are often brightly colored and involve an element of movement.
Impressionists of the early period went beyond the traditional academic painting. Inspired by the artists like Eugene Delacroix, they based their paintings more on color strokes rather than line drawing. Previously, paintings were done indoors. French painters like Gustave Courbet, and Theodore Rousseau paved a path for Impressionism. Impressionists showed art, the outside world. They started painting realistic scenes with the use of broken strokes of pure colors.
HISTORY OF IMPRESSIONISM
Paintings by the Dutch painters of the 17th century represented a vivid distinction between the subject and the background. Photography inspired the painters to capture moments in daily life. While photography could depict facts, paintings could portray an artist's interpretation of facts. Impressionists were the first to bring in subjectivity to paintings. Japanese art also contributed to the emergence of Impressionism.
In the middle of the 19th century, Academie des Beaux-Arts dominated the world of French art. Works of art primarily depicted history and religion. The paintings lacked vibrancy and brightness. The Academie held restrictive views about the style of paintings and did not promote young artists who wanted to bring in newness to the art form.
The Academie used to hold an annual art show where a panel of judges reviewed the paintings of the artists of those times and the Academie gave away prizes to the artists, judged as being best by the panel. The judges strongly rejected the paintings that portrayed unconventionality, thus suppressing the freedom of expression of some young artists. Particularly in 1863, many paintings by the young artists were rejected which made Emperor Napoleon III look into the matter. He declared that the paintings should be made open to public judgment and he organized a huge exhibition of the rejected paintings. It was called as the Salon des Refuses. It led to a new trend in art and attracted many.
The artists requested that Salon des Refuses be held in 1867 and later in 1872. Both their requests were not honored. In 1873, Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Camille Pissarro established an association of Painters, Sculptors and Engravers in order to exhibit their art. The first exhibition was organized in April of 1874. It included works of thirty artists. The tradition of these exhibitions had to bear criticism from the society as well as face some internal conflicts. Renoir went against Impressionism in the 1880s. Pissarro was the only one to participate in all the eight exhibitions of Impressionism.
The exhibitions earned the artists fame and monetary gains. Durand Ruel, the dealer of these artists was instrumental in making Impressionism popular. He brought the Impressionists' artworks before the society and arranged shows for them. Impressionism soon became prevalent in society.
Apart from Renoir, Pissarro, Monet and Sisley who can be considered as pioneers of Impressionism, others like Berthe Morisot, Armand Guillaumin and Frederic Bazille also contributed to earning recognition for Impressionism. Edgar Degas disregarded the term Impressionist and Edouard Manet did not call himself as an Impressionist but both of them are considered a part of Impressionism. James Abbott McNeill Whistler, born in America participated in Impressionism. Works of Eugene Boudin and Jean-Baptiste-Carnille Carot were closely related to the Impressionist style of art.
Thick brush strokes to give the picture a bright look, soft edges, depiction of the reflecting light and the representation of shadows to obtain a natural look, are the signature characteristics of Impressionist art. The history of Impressionism relates the evolution of this novel form of painting that was a major breakthrough in the world of art.
By Manali Oak
The History of Post-Impressionism Art
Born of frustration, Post-Impressionism is a paradox; much like a child enamored with some of the qualities of its parents, yet disdainful of others, the movement borrowed heavily from its predecessor, yet yearned for a better way. Some of the most highly regarded painters of the time adopted this approach, leading to the more modernistic art of the 20th century.
The history of Post-Impressionism art encompasses the time period from roughly 1885 to 1905. The format developed as a result of artists from the period expressing dissatisfaction with the rules of painting that formed the basis of the Impressionist period. Originating in France, it stressed more expression, specifically in the context of volume and picture structure. The description of the movement (Post-Impressionism) was coined in 1910 by art critic Roger Frye to describe artists who had been influenced by Impressionism, but presented work of a distinctly different vein.
Beginning in approximately 1860, the Impressionist period focused on color, shape and line structure to showcase movement and light, using colors drawn from a mixture of the three primary colors of red, blue and yellow. White played a strong role in the color scheme, but Impressionist artists distinctly avoided black and brown hues and elected to form their visuals with many small dabs of paint. Dissatisfied with this approach, Post-Impressionist artists believed the Impressionist works were too vague, lacking visual impact and structure.
According to World Wide Art Resources, Post-Impressionism describes "the work of painters such as Paul Cezanne, Georges Seurat, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, among others." These artists strove to express more than just visual significance. They also hoped to highlight the emotions and intellect of the subjects portrayed in paint. This desire led one artist to develop a technique that would come to be known as "pointillism."
Pointillism was the brainchild of one of the first significant artists to move away from Impressionism, Georges Seurat. "Seurat created a technique that involved painting many thousands of tiny colored dots on his canvas. When his paintings are viewed from the very close up, all that can be seen are clusters of dots of contrasting colors," writes Jane Bingham in her book "Post Impressionism." But when viewed from a distance, the dots form a scene. This approach required precise planning, a concept not embraced in Impressionism. Seurat's peers began to employ this concept in their work, leading to mass adoption of the philosophy that would define the Post-Impressionist era.
Post-Impressionist artists often exhibited together, but tended to work alone. "Cézanne painted in isolation at Aix-en-Provence in southern France; his solitude was matched by that of Paul Gauguin, who in 1891 took up residence in Tahiti, and of van Gogh, who painted in the countryside at Arles," according to the Art Industri Group of the United Kingdom, an artist resource website. "Both Gauguin and van Gogh rejected the indifferent objectivity of Impressionism in favor of a more personal, spiritual expression." Moving away from the naturalistic approach of Impressionism, modern movements of the early 20th century like Cubism were drastically influenced by Post-Impressionism.
By Mark Bingaman