homepage impressionism




A historical reconstruction

8 ‘impressionist’ expositions

1874 – 1886

Impressionism is known for the 8 independent group expositions that were held from 1874 – 1886 in Paris,
and that are now known as the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions

Step into the shoes of the people who visited these ‘impressionist’ expositions 150 years ago.
See the about 2053 art-works they saw
and meet the 57 partaking ‘impressionists’ of whom many now are (quite) forgotten.

And enjoy the beauty of Impressionism !


What art-works were shown at the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions? 
On this website you will find 8 pages on which you can create unique slideshows of the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions. They will render an overall impression of the about 2053 art-works that were shown, done in several techniques. These group expositions were independant of the Salon de Paris and were comparatively small. Camille Pissarro was the only partaker that joined all 8 expositions. Just 3 partakers joined 7 expositions: Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot and Henri Rouart, who is now quite forgotten.


In 1874 at the first ‘impressionist’ exposition 31 partakers showed about 225 art-works (165 catalogue numbers), see the slideshow. It was organised by the Société anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc. Less than half of the art-works exhibited were oil paintings. Félix Bracquemond showed 32! engravings, Auguste Ottin several néo-classical sculptures and Claude Monet several pastels. 15 partakers wouldn’t return and continued exhibiting at the Salon.
See also the video on my YouTube channel “enjoy.impressionism”.


In 1876 at the second ‘impressionist’ exposition 19 partakers showed about 298 art-works (252 catalogue numbers), see the slideshow. Gustave Caillebotte, a newcomer, would become a driving force behind the expositions. Alphonse Legros was a sort guest of honour and showed 25 engravings. Ludovic Lepic showed the most, about 49, art-works.


In 1877 at the third ‘impressionist’ exposition 18 partakers showed about 249 art-works (241 catalogue numbers), see the slideshow. Edgar Degas experienced with mixed techniques like pastel over a monotype print. Claude Monet showed a serie paintings of the Saint-Lazare station, the identification is a real quest, see account. The catalogue was simply named, like most expositions ‘exposition de peinture’. But, above the entrance door it was displayed as ‘Exposition des Impressionnistes’, the only time there was an official reference to the term ‘impressionist‘.


In 1879 at the fourth ‘impressionist’ exposition 16 partakers showed about 272 art-works (246 catalogue numbers), see the slideshow. Just about 55% were oil paintings, many drawings, aquarelles and fans and pastels were exhibited. Mary Cassatt and Paul Gauguin were an important newcomers.


In 1880 at the fifth ‘impressionist’ exposition 19 partakers showed about 309 art-works (232 catalogue numbers), see the slideshow. Jean-François Raffaëlli was the most important newcomer and showed most, about 44, art-works. Later he would be the cause for division. Just about 52% of the exhibited art-works were oil paintings, 27% were etchings. Namely Guillaumin and Morisot showed beautiful impressionist paintings.


In 1881 at the sixth ‘impressionist’ exposition 14 partakers showed about 187 art-works (170 catalogue numbers), see the slideshow. Raffaëlli again showed the most, about 34, art-works. Works of Cals were shown posthumously and outside the catalogue (=hc).


In 1882 at the seventh ‘impressionist’ exposition just 9 partakers showed about 212 art-works (203 catalogue numbers), see the slideshow. Degas and his friends refused to join. Caillebotte, Monet, Renoir and Sisley returned after some years of absence. The unknown Victor Vignon also joined this most impressionist exposition, that was named ‘indépendant’.


In 1886 at the 8th ‘impressionist’ exposition 18 partakers showed about 301 art-works (246 catalogue numbers), see the slideshow. Some partakers showed néo-impressionist paintings, like Seurat. Redon showed 15 symbolist drawingsDegas showed (maybe) 15 pastels, including a serie of nude women doing their toilet. Tillot who had joined 6 of the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions showed several flower still-lifes.



All about the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions:
On this website you will find all sorts of information on the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions. The starting page, in the top menu, renders links to 63! pages with extended information. You will find links to the 8 catalogues with additional information, links to the partakers, with additional info and overviews per year (see also the left / bottom menu), the slideshows and the used techniques.


What art-works were exhibited?
In most sources on Impressionism you will only find some oil paintings of well known artists. Ruth Berson (1996) renders 842 small black and white pictures of art-works that were (quite) surely exhibited (R90II). Of the other art-works it is unclear which were exhibited (see identification of paintings). Still, in the slideshows and in the sub-menus of the partaking artists, I will render as much as possible suggestions for the about 2053 art-works that were shown at the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions. Many suggestions will stay very uncertain or are just to compare. But, in this way I want to give a more complete impression of the art-works that were exhibited in Paris from 1874-1886. See also the video on this quest on my YouTube channel “enjoy.Impressionism“.


What techniques were used?
Most sources on Impressionism just render some famous oil paintings. The centennial exposition ’the new painting’ in 1986 was devoted principally to paintings (R2,p23). But as you have seen above, many other techniques / media were used. See the links for overviews of the exhibited aquarelles, pastels, drawings, engravings, sculptures, fans and works made with mixed techniques and with other techniques and works that can be classified as applied art. You can also find overviews of the used techniques per year: 1874, 1876, 1877, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1882 and 1886.


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). This makes 56+2hc=58 partakers. But probably Comtesse de Rambure 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 and in the sub-menus exhibited art-works, overviews and accounts.

Most sources on Impressionism only inform about the well known artists. 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’ (R2,p22). Thus disqualifying 25 of the 57 partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions. 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. See also the video on this quest on my YouTube channel “enjoy.Impressionism“.


What is Impressionism?
For a good understanding of Impressionism it is good firstly to see Impressionism as a painting style and secondly as a broader art-movement in France from about 1855-1900. The ‘impressionist’ expositions held from 1874-1886 in Paris were key events for this art-movement. But, when we look at the 57 partakers of these expositions we see that many didn’t paint in an impressionist painting style. Many can more be seen as Realists or as pre-impressionist landscapists. Edgar Degas, one of the most prominent organisers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions, didn’t want to be called an Impressionist. Many sources on Impressionism give ample attention to Edouard Manet. But he never joined the ‘impressionist’ expositions and only later used elements of the impressionist painting style. He played a part in this broader ‘impressionist’ art-movement, but merely is no impressionist. See also myths on Impressionism.
A key question of this website is: were all the 57 partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions from 1874-1886 impressionists? In the answers I will discern between Impressionism as a painting style and as an art-movement. The answers on this question you will find in the left (or bottom) menu. More info on  Impressionism you will find in the top menu and the sub-menus.


The Salon and other exhibitions:
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 sources on Impressionism 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. See also Myths on Impressionism.
Apart from the Salon and their own expositions the ‘impressionists’ could join other exhibitions. These possibilities increased namely since 1882.


The ‘impressionists’ didn’t live on an island, so on this website on Impressionism you will also find short information about it’s surrounding world, which 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.


Sorted and accounted information and pictures:
The information on this website is accounted for and based on extended research starting in the summer of 2017. In the top menu you will find a ‘general account‘ with additional links. On this website you will find free, sorted information about Impressionism, the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions and the ‘impressionist’ artists and the surrounding world (Meta-Impressionism). 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.

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


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 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) partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions 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!


Future plans:
I have many ideas for the future to share more of the beauty of Impressionism:


Start enjoying !

Recommanded citation: “Impressionism: a historical reconstruction of the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions (1874-1886) and it’s surroundings, home page. Last modified 2024/05/08. https://www.impressionism.nl/.”