Impressionism Art Movement

France 1865 – 1895

Impressionism Art Movement, Impressionist Paintings & Artists.

While French literature was abandoning the historic novel and turning to stories about real people set in modern Paris and the surrounding countryside, a group of painters felt the need to free themselves from monotonous academic training to give vent to their personal emotions and “impressions”. And so Impressionism was born. During the 1860's, Monet, Renoir, and Sisley left the academy and the museum to capture en Plein air (in the open air) outdoors the lights, colors, and atmosphere of the landscapes. Monet is the true founder of Impressionism. He organized the historic first group exhibition at the studio of the photographer Felix Nadar in 1874.

Works by Renoir, Monet, Manet, and others were constantly rejected by the salon on a yearly basis. The Academie des Beaux-Arts was so harsh that Napoleon III created the Salon of the Refused to showcase the rejected works of talented artists.

How Impressionism Got its Name.

On April 15, 1874, the Societe Anonyme Des Artistes, opened its first exhibition. One hundred and sixty-five works were shown, including paintings by Cezanne, Degas, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, Boudin, and many others now forgotten. The exhibit ran for four weeks and only about 3500 people came to see it, mainly for entertainment or to express indignation. All the artists were skewered and lambasted by one art critic, Louis Leroy. But the last straw, reserved for Monsieur Monet, he wrote in response to his seeing Monet’s Impression Sunrise, It was Leroy that coined the termed “Impressionist” when he titled his critique “The Exhibition of the Impressionists." The movement is named for this painting and this critique.

“Ah, there he is, there he is” he cried, in front of painting number 98. “ I recognize him, papa Vincent's favorite! What does the canvas depict? Look at the catalog.”
“Impression, Sunrise,”
“Impression, I was certain of it. I was just telling myself that, since I was impressed, there had to be some impression in it.... and what freedom, what ease of workmanship! Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than that seascape.”

Impression: Sunrise.

This unassuming painting has the unique privilege of having given its name to the Impressionist movement. The term was used by critics seeking to stigmatize the feeling of personal immediacy that countered the studied formality of the academic tradition. This painting along with others was shown in Nadar's studio. It aroused heated and generally negative reactions in both the public and the critics. As the painting title states, it was not intended to be a realistic “depiction” of the landscape, but rather the painter's “impression” of a particular moment of the day.

The historic exhibit in Nadar's studio marked the height of the Impressionist movement. For some artists, it also marked the end of their most creative period. The qualities that make the Impressionists so popular is their diffused luminosity, achieved at the same time that scientific research into the properties of light and the introduction of photography, where the image is fixed when the plate is “impressed” by the light.

Many of the artists of the movement are known by some of their painting subject matter. During the early 1870's Degas focused on two of his favorite subjects: the Opera, especially Ballet, and the horse races at the Longchamps. Monet on Landscapes, Parisian life, and seascapes. Renoir's joie de vivre was conveyed in his paintings of popular diversions such as outdoor dances, boat trips and summer strolls in parks. Manet for his use dark colors and personal interpretation of the great masters, Cassatt for her paintings of women and children and Morisot, for her silent moments of domestic life indoors.

Why Paint? Photography and Impressionism.

With the advent of photography, artists had to question themselves, why replicate reality anymore? The answer led them in the path of experimenting with light and color. Representational art, going back to ancient times, seemed to hit a dead end. So the artists dived into their own psyche, producing something that photography lacked. Photography also inspired the Impressionists to paint moments in the lives of ordinary people in a sense of spontaneity.

The paint tube created in 1841 by American portrait painter John Goffe Rand changed the art world. Paints could now be created in mass and sold in tin tubes with a cap, providing flexibility, efficiency, and portability for painting outdoors, but more importantly, it provided consistency in the colors.

Without Paint Tubes, there would be No Impressionism.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir stated, “Without paint in tubes, there would have been no Impressionism.” For the Impressionists, tubed paints offered an assortment of new colors for their outdoor palette. Now, they were able to paint trees purple, if they wanted and with greater quantities of preserved paint, they were able to apply more paint.

A Simple Way to Identify Impressionist Art.

1. Paintings with thick spots and blobs of paint and rough brushwork. 2. Painting should be looked at from a distance, not up close otherwise, it will look like a big mess. 3. There’s no clear outlines or many details. The loose brush strokes suggest the subject by blending one color into the next. 4. Nature’s fleeting moments and the play of fog, sunlight, clouds and water reflection.

Other Impressionist painters include Frédéric Bazille, Eugène Boudin, Paul Cézanne, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Henri Fantin-Latour, Max Liebermann, James Whistler.

Partly from: Identify This Art and TheArtist.me

Click any famous Replica Oil Painting to see a larger image.

View or buy Impressionism Art Movement oil painting reproductions by these famous painters below.