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A historical reconstruction

1874 – 1886



The impressionists are known for the independent group expositions they held from 1874 – 1886 in Paris.
Step into the shoes of the people who visited these expositions about 150 years ago.
See the about 2000 art-works they saw
and meet the 57 partaking ‘impressionists’ of whom many are (quite) forgotten.

And enjoy the beauty of Impressionism !

This website contains more than 400 pages and 5000 pictures
and is still growing.

You will also find information on the world surrounding the ‘impressionists’,
other expositions, other artists, other art-movements and more.

All about the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions:
On this website, in the top menu, you will find all kinds of information about the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions held in Paris from 1874-1886. See the starting page, with links to (starting pages with links to) the catalogues, the partaking artists, slide shows of the exhibited art-works and the used techniques. You will find general info on the expositions and more detailed information per year: 1874 + 1876 + 1877 + 1879 + 1880 + 1881 + 1882 + 1886. Some pages deal with more specific questions: Why are they called ‘impressionist’ expositions?; the number of art-works exhibited; an overview of the loans.

What art-works were exhibited?
During the 8 expositions from 1874-1886 the partaking ‘impressionists’ did exhibit more than 2000 art-works. Still, in books and websites on Impressionism you will find just a limited selection of these works. Berson renders about 900 art-works that are (quite) surely exhibited (R90II). Of the other art-works it is unclear (see also identification of paintings). Still, I want to render suggestions for these 2000 art-works as much as possible. So, also unknown works of the well known ‘impressionists’ and as much as possible works of the unknown ‘impressionists’. Many suggestions done, will stay (very) uncertain, but it will give an extended impression of these expositions and not just a well known selection. In this way I want to render a historical reconstruction of these 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions, that influenced art-history. I hope you can enjoy the beauty of them!
See the links for slide-shows of the ‘impressionist’ expositions of 1874 + 1876 + 1877 + 1879 + 1880 + 1881 + 1882 + 1886.
You will find the pictures (including additional suggestions) in the sub-menu’s of the artists in the left (or bottom) menu.
(Additional suggestions will be added).

Who were the 57 partaking ‘impressionists’?
The best tribute one can pay to the memory of a talented artist is to make his work known.
F. C. de Syène (1879/05/01) (R90I,p243)

There were 56 partakers mentioned in the catalogues of the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions. It is known that in 1874 Comtesse de Luchaire and in 1886 Comtesse de Rambure also exhibited outside the catalogue (=hc). But probably the latter exhibited in 1876 and 1877 under the pseudonym Jacques François. So in total there were 56 + 2hc -1 = 57 partakers. In the left (or bottom) menu  you will find short biographies of all these artists. (Additional info will be added)
When you look in books and on websites about Impressionism, you will find a lot of information and pictures of (according to Duret=R142) the 5 key Impressionists: Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir and Sisley. And also of Caillebotte and Cassatt and of Degas (who was more a Realist), Cézanne and Gauguin (who were more Post-Impressionists), Seurat and Signac (who were Neo-Impressionists) and also of -/-Manet, who never joined the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions and just sometimes used an impressionist painting style. In these sources you will hardly find information and pictures of the other 45 partakers of the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions. This sadly was also the case in the centennial exhibition of 1974 (R87), the centennial exposition of 1986 (R2) and partly also in the additional catalogue of Berson (R90II). The 1986 exposition was devoted principally to paintings (R2,p23). On this website you will also find pictures of the aquarelles, the pastels, the drawings, the engravings, the works done with mixed techniques, the sculptures, the fans and the works done in other techniques.

2024: Rehabilitation of 45 forgotten ‘impressionists’?
Some art-critics called other partakers incapable amateur-painters or retarded Salon-painters (R90I,p19;R87,p270). Moffett, who selected and organised the 1986 centennial exposition, calls the works of Attendu, Béliard, Bureau, Cals, Colin, Cordey, Debras, Forain, Guillaumin, Lamy, Latouche, Lebourg, Lepic, Levert, Meyer, de Molins, Mulot-Durivage, Auguste and Léon Ottin, Raffaëlli, Léopold Robert, Somm, Tillot, Vidal, Vignon and others ‘inferior’, thus disqualifying 25 of the 57 partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions (R2,p22). But is this true? One goal of this website is to rehabilitate all these other partakers and to show as much pictures as possible of them, so that you can judge for yourself: Are their art-works beautiful or not? And: Were they Realists, Pre-Impressionists, Impressionists or something else?
I hope that in exhibitions that will be organised in 2024 (150 years after the 1st impressionist exposition) justice will be done to Rouart, Guillaumin, Tillot, Cals, Vignon, Zandomeneghi, Levert, Forain, who frequently did partake in the expositions. But also to Béliard, Boudin, Marie Bracquemond, Colin, Cordey, Lebourg, Lépine, Maureau, De Nittis, Piette, Schuffenecker, who all made beautiful impressionist art-works.
The Musée d’Orsay in Paris and the National Gallery of Art in Washington will show in 2024 an exhibition called ‘Paris 1874: The impressionist moment‘ starting in Paris the 25th of March and in Washington the 6th of September (M1;M21). They promise to show works of the ‘lesser known contemporaries’.

Were all the partakers Impressionists?
The key question is: were all these 57 partakers of the expositions from 1874-1886 Impressionists? The answers on this question for all the 57 partakers you will find in the left (or bottom) menu. I distinguish between Impressionism as an art-movement in France from about 1860-1900 and Impressionism as a painting style. See also in the top menu under Impressionism. But why were the Impressionists called ‘impressionists’ anyway, see?
In the top menu I also will give answers (in the future) to the following questions: Who were the +/-main Impressionists? Impressionists can also be seen as +/-circles of friends. Who was part of which circle? What were +/-meeting places? Where did they +/- paint together? Did they +/-  portray one another? Did they +/-  own each others works? What were +/- characteristics? When and where did they have contacts (rendered in a -/-chronology)?

The Salon:
A main caracteristic of the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions was, that they were independent of the Paris Salon. The Salon was a large, yearly exhibition in Paris. Without the Paris Salon it was hard to get yourself known as painter and to sell your pictures. Many books and websites suggest that the ‘impressionists’ were mostly rejected for the Salon and that they were opposed to it. But in reality the relationship of many Impressionists with the Salon was ambivalent. Many partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions often did exhibit at the Salon. Even with beautiful impressionist paintings, see for example Sisley.
In some years artists that were rejected for the Salon were able to exhibit at a Salon des Refusés. If there was one, that was a dicision of the State, so they were no independent group exhibitions. Since 1880 the Salon was organised by the ‘Société des Artistes Français‘, so more independant from the French State. Was this development influenced by the independant ‘impressionist’ group expositions? Since 1890 there was a split off exhibition: the Salon de la Société National des Beaux-Arts.
Even more important than the Salon were the art exhibitions held at the Expositions Universelle. In 1889 some partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions were present and in 1900 many, just like at Centennial exhibitions held of French art in other countries.
An important aspect of the Salon, the Salon de la Société Français and the Expositions Universelle was the granting of awards. The art-works that were awarded can be seen as the benchmark of art that year. See the links for an impression of these awarded paintings, for the highly awarded painters and a chronological overview. You will not only find Néo-Classicist artists, but also Barbizon painters.
In the left (or bottom) menu you will find more information on these topics.
Note: additional info and pictures will be added in the future on several of these pages.

Other exhibitions:
Apart from the Salon and their own expositions, the ‘impressionists’ had other possibilities to exhibit their art-works. Before 1874 the partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions could exhibit their works in studios, in art-supply shops, at galleries, at regional exhibitions, at small initiatives for independent group exhibitions and in London at the gallery of Durand-Ruel, who had started to buy their works.
Later on there were possibilities of exhibiting and selling their works at auctions at Hôtel Drouot (namely in 1875 + 1877) and at editorial offices of journals like La Vie Moderne (1879 onwards). In the early 1880s Durand-Ruel, started to buy (again) their works, now on a more regular basis. He held solo exhibitions 1883 onwards, exhibited their works in London (1882-84) and New York (1886) at exhibitions that were called “impressionist“. Also Georges Petit started to buy and exhibit their works. At his gallery 1882 onwards the Expositions International de peinture (et de sculpture) were held and 1885 onwards exhibitions of the Société des Pastellistes Français and from 1900-1922 exhibitions of the Société Nouvelle. Other independent group exhibitions emerged: Les XX in Brussels (1884-93), the Salon des Indépendant (1884 onwards), the exhibition at Volpini (1889), the exhibitions of Les peintres Impressionnistes et Symbolistes (1891-98), the Salon de la Rose+Croix (1892-97), La Libre Esthétique in Brussels (1894-1914), the Salon d’Automne (1903 onwards) and other less known independent group exhibitions. I wonder how all these independent group exhibitions were inspired by the independant ‘impressionist’ group expositions.
You will find in the left (or bottom) menu more info.
Note: additional info and pictures will be added in the future on several of these pages.

The Impressionists didn’t live on an island, so I want to give short information about their surroundings. This surrounding world I call Meta-Impressionism. Here you will find info about the École des Beaux-Arts, earlier art-movements (like Neo-Classicism and Romanticism), art-dealers and other items. You will find info about the pre-impressionists who inspired the impressionist like the the Barbizon painters. There were artists who were active at the same time as the ‘impressionist’ and who used some elements of the impressionist painting style. Some were even invited to partake in the ‘impressionist’ expositions. I call these artists Para-Impressionists. It is interesting to see what were the similarities and the differences between them and the Impressionists. You will also find info on the Neo-Impressionists and the Post-Impressionists. All this info you will find in the top menu.
Note: additional info and pictures will be added in the future on several of these pages.

The information on this website is accounted for:
The information on this website is based on extended research starting in the Summer of 2017. I prudently make clear the sources I have used, because I like to honour these sources. It will also give you the possibility to check my assertions and to continue your personal research. In the top menu you will find a ‘general account‘. In the sub-menu’s you will find general references (=R) to sources in books; references to internet pages (=iR); and references to Musea (=M). In the blog you can follow the development of the website, which pages were created and altered.
For a good understanding of this website, it is recommanded to first read the practical hints and the meaning of the abbreviations (see). And also to read the explanation of the subscription that is used below the paintings. Note: Sometimes it is necessary to refresh a webpage when a picture isn’t visible.

Sorted information and pictures:
There are many webpages about Impressionism and the Impressionist artists. Many pages are with (irritating) advertisements. Many pages are limited to the well-known ‘impressionists’. On many websites the information is fragmented. On many webpages the information about the pictures is limited or unclear. On many webpages the used sources are not indicated.
On this website you will find free, sorted information about Impressionism and the ‘impressionist’ artists (also of the unknown). My aim is to render about 6000 pictures. My mission is that this information and the beauty of these pictures are accessible for everyone in the world. Also for those who are not able to buy (several) books, go to museums and exhibitions and travel around the world to Paris or Washington.

What is interesting for me?
This is a large website with more than 400 pages that is interesting for many people. Namely for people who are interested in Impressionism, especially in the ‘impressionist’ expositions and in the world around it. Most pages render a combination of information and pictures.
If you are mainly interested in pictures see the webpages indicated with a painting pallet 🎨; here you can also create small slide shows.
There are also pages for people who are interested in more detailed information, such as thematical and/or topographical overviews and the accounts. On several pages you can find links to online catalogues of exhibitions and auctions. In the general references (=Rx) and the internet references (=iRx) you will also find links to online catalogues (raisonné) and books. These pages will be indicated (in the future) with a magnifying glass .
Most of these pages you will find in the sub-menus.

Please share pictures, information and reactions:
Many works of the (unknown) ‘impressionists’ are in private collections. Of these works there are often no pictures available or only of poor quality. If you have (better) pictures of these lesser known works, please share them with me. Of the unknown ‘impressionists’ there is also limited information available. Please share information, that is not (easy) to be found on the internet. I will use the pictures and information to complete this website. Please also share your reactions on this website. Maybe you notice some of the information is not correct or complete. Maybe you have remarks on the lay-out, the readability and workability of this website.  Maybe you just want to share your reaction. For all these reactions you can use the email you will find in the general account. Thanks!

Please donate:
The making of this website costs money and a lot of time. If you want to contribute to the realisation of this website please make a donation. You can use the PayPal botton here below. On every page you can find the button in the top of the left menu (or at the bottom). For more info see the general account.   

Future plans:
I have many ideas for the future:

  • Make thematical overviews of the art-works of the unknown ‘impressionists’ of whom I can find less than 100 pictures. And then linking these pictures to the titles that are known (from exhibitions, auctions, books, etc). See for example Astruc and Cordey.
  • Make a historical reconstruction of what works the ‘impressionists’ and others exhibited at the Salon, at its successor the Salon de la Société des Artistes-Français and at other exhibitions, focusing on the years 1874-1886.
  • 2024: show a slideshow that give a historical reconstruction of what art-works were exhibited at the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition held in Paris from 1874.
  • Publish on YouTube a serie of short educational video’s with as main theme: new impressions of Impressionism.
  • Uploading pictures of the ‘impressionists’ to Google-maps on the exact location of where they were painted.
  • Make a historical reconstruction of the international impressionist exhibitions held from 1882-1914.
    What artists did partake? What works were exhibited?
  • Establish a foundation in which to house all these activities.


Start enjoying !



Recommanded citation: “Impressionism: a historical reconstruction of the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions (1874-1886) and it’s surroundings, home page. Last modified 2023/11/15. https://www.impressionism.nl/.”