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Impressionism: a historical reconstruction
The 6th ‘impressionist’ exposition
The 6th ‘impressionist’ exposition had 13 + 1hc = 14 partakers showing at least 178 works which is the smallest amount of numbers of all 8 expositions. The works of Cals were shown posthumously and hc (R2,p351). Raffaëlli (34x) and Pissarro (28x) showed the most works. The catalogue (with 170 numbers) simply calls it the sixth exposition (R2,p337). Beforehand Caillebotte complained ‘Degas introduced disunity into our midst’ and decided not to participate, following Monet, Renoir and Sisley (R2,p337).
Degas organized this exposition. Most partakers were brought into the group by Degas and many have an affinity with representations of aspects of everyday, modern, urban life. Wissman (R2,p337-352) emphasizes the realist painting style of the partakers, laying emphasize on line and drawing (R2,p339). Still the impressionist painting style of Cassatt, Guillaumin, Morisot and Pissarro is obvious. And partly this can be said of Gauguin, Rouart, Tillot, Vignon and Zandomeneghi too. The art-critic Trianon wrote: ‘They seem to choose that which is ugly, deformed, repugnant…’ (R2,p338). The number of visitors was no success (R5,p125).
1881, what preceded: Caillebotte vs. Degas:
Caillebotte complained in a letter (1881/01/24) to Pissarro that “Degas brought disorder into our midst”. He summed up that since 1876 Degas had introduced in 1876 Lepic, Legros, Mme de Rambure (probably under the pseudonyme Jacques François), in 1877 Moreau (sic Maureau) and Mme de Rambure again, in 1878 Zandomeneghi, (Félix) Bracquemond, Mme (Marie) Bracquemond and in 1879 Raffaëlli and Vidal. “The list goes on, a phalanx of determined fighters for the great cause of Realism!!!” He places these ‘fighters of Realism’ opposite to Pissarro, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Mlle (Berthe) Morisot, Mlle (Mary) Cassatt, Cézanne, Guillaumin, if you want Gauguin, maybe Cordey and himself. Only these artists can make the expositions continue in ‘a artistic sense’. He recognizes the talent of Degas and writes ‘The only ones of his friends who have rights are Rouart and Tillot.’
Pissarro (1881/01/27) replied: “The only possible principle … is not to let go of the colleagues you have”. He delicately added “remember he (=Degas) has brought Mlle (Mary) Cassatt, Forain and you yourself.” At the end Caillebotte decided not to participate, following Monet, Renoir and Sisley (R102,p275/6;R2,p337). In the preparations of the exposition in 1882 there again was opposition against namely Raffaëlli, this time by Guillaumin and Gauguin. That time Pissarro had to let go many of the colleagues, but the division lines were other than Caillebotte had drawn.
Note 1: the once Degas introduced in 1878 and 1879 would exhibit only the year after.
Note 2: Berthe Morisot married Eugène Manet in 1874/12/22 (R5,p85;R42,p46;R93,10), so Caillebotte wrongly names her ‘Mlle Morisot’.
Note 3: the artists that can continue the expositions in ‘a artistic sense’ are placed opposite to Realism; often Impressionism (a term Caillebotte doesn’t use) is placed opposite to Néo-Classicism.
Note 4: Caillebotte himself in his early years, like in 1876 and 1877, painted in a more Realist style, painting quite smooth and rendering many details.
Note 5: Many of the artists mentioned produced pictures done in a more or less impressionist painting style, the division Caillebotte made isn’t that clear in reality.
Note 6: Caillebotte omits Vignon, Forain (and Lebourg and Levert who stopped exhibiting in 1880).
1881, the organisation / special features:
The 6th ‘impressionist’ exposition had 14 partakers showing at about 189 art-works which is the smallest amount of numbers of all 8 expositions (see slideshow). Raffaëlli (34x) and Pissarro (28x) showed the most works. Most partakers were brought into the group by Degas and many have an affinity with representations of aspects of everyday, modern, urban life. Degas organised this exposition. The catalogue (with 170 numbers) simply calls it the sixth exposition; a poster hasn’t come to light (R2,p337).
1881, the partakers:
The 6th ‘impressionist’ exposition had 13 + 1hc = 14 partakers. The works of Cals were shown posthumously and outside the catalogue (=hc) (R2,p351). After this exposition Raffaëlli and Vidal would stop exhibiting at the ‘impressionist’ expositions. The following partakers didn’t partake the next year in 1882, because of a dispute: Degas, Cassatt, Forain, Rouart, Tillot and Zandomeneghi. The following partakers would join again in 1882 + 1886: Gauguin, Guillaumin, Morisot, Pissarro and Vignon.
1881, the used techniques:
Most art-works exhibited were oil paintings. I assume the studies and sketches of Tillot were made of oil, but this could easily be otherwise (no.149). Probably 125, about 66% of the total amount of about 189 art-works.
The following partakers exhibited aquarelles: Forain 3x (nos.22-24); Guillaumin 1x (no.50); Pissarro showed 15! gouaches (nos.74-88); Raffaëlli 5x (no.106+112+116+119+121). So in total there were 24 aquarelles exhibited, about 13% of the total amount of art-works.
The following partakers exhibited pastels: Cassatt 7x (nos.5-11); Forain 1x (no.25); Guillaumin 5x (nos.51-55); Morisot 2x (no.60+61); Pissarro 2x (no.89+90); Raffaëlli probably 2x (no.103+107?). Maybe the hc1 work of Degas was a pastel, but the suggestion is uncertain; I will count it as a mixed technique. So in total there were probably 19 pastels exhibited, about 10% of the total amount of art-works.
Degas showed probably 3 monotypes outside the catalogue (hc4 ‘Esquisses noire’). So in total there were just 3 engravings exhibited, less than 2% of the total amount of art-works.
The following partakers exhibited drawings: Forain 4x (no.26-29); Raffaëlli 1x (no.120); Zandomeneghi 1x (no.169). So in total there were 6 drawings exhibited, about 3% of the total amount of art-works.
The following partakers exhibited art-works using mixed techniques: Degas probably exhibited 11 art-works that were not in the catalogue. Several suggestions are given, but all are (very) uncertain. Most suggestions are made in a mixed techniques, some in pastel, some a drawing. The probably 3 works exhibited as hc4 ‘Esquisses noire’ probably were monotypes, so I will count them as engravings. Because the suggestions are uncertain and probably most other works are done in mixed techniques, I will count them all as done with mixed techniques. So in total there were probably 8 art-works exhibited made with mixed techniques, about 4% of the total amount of art-works.
The following partakers exhibited sculptures: Degas showed his little dancer (no.12); Gauguin showed a medal and a figure out of wood (no.38+39). So in total there were 3 sculptures exhibited made with mixed techniques, less than 2 % of the total amount of art-works.
Zandomeneghi also exhibited a Panel for a dining room. I will count it as an other technique. This 1 is less than 1% of the total amount of art-works.
Was this an impressionist exposition?
No in the sense that Monet, Renoir and Sisley still were absent and Caillebotte also had withdrawn. But several other artists made many pictures in a more impressionist painting style, namely Guillaumin, Pissarro and Vignon. Others showed some impressionist masterpieces like Cassatt (no.2), Gauguin (no.36)↑ and Zandomeneghi (no.166)↓. Cals, Rouart and Tillot painted in a more Pre-Impressionist style, others more in a Realist style. So, in that sense it neither was an impressionist exposition.
1881, the lenders:
Several works were loans: of Forain (2 out of 10), of Gauguin (2 out of 10), Guillaumin (1 out of 16), of Pissarro (14 out of 28), of Raffaëlli (15 out of 34), of Vignon (1 out of 15) and of Zandomeneghi (1 out of 5). I assume that all of the works of Cals also were loans, I assume at least 4. So, in total there had been 37+4=41 loans, which is about % of all the 2xx works exhibited.
The following lenders did lent works of Pissarro: Paul Bérard 1 (no.79); Mary Cassatt 2 (no.75+77); Clappisson 1 (no.74); Dreyfus 1 (no.76); Charles Ephrussi 1 (no.80); Ernest May 1 (no.78); J. P. 2 (no.63+64); P. 3 (no.65-67); Henri Rouart 1 (no.81).
The following lenders did lent works of Jean-François Raffaëlli: Drake del Castillo 1 (no.119); Célérier 1 (no.118); Jules Claretie 1 (no.115); Ayarra de Garay 1 (no.111); Mlle Gabrielle Gauthier 1 (no.117); Charles Hayem 1 (no.104); Dr Heurteloup 1 (no.97); H. de Lamonta 1 (no.123); Oppenheim 1 (no.108); Georges Petit 1 (no.124); Raoul Toché 1 (no.94); Albert Wolff 2 (no.95+96).
Other lenders were Dr. Georges de Bellio lending 1 work of Gauguin (no.33); Ernest Blum lending 1 work of Forain (no.22) and 3 of Raffaëlli (no.91-93); Edgar Degas 1 of Gauguin (no.34); G. 1 of Zandomeneghi (no.169); Paul Gauguin 1 of Guillaumin (no.43) and 1 of Pissarro (no.82); Alfred Meyer 1 of Forain (no.23); Mitrecey 1 of Vignon (no.165);
(Main source: Berson (1996=R90II,p285-294).
The art-critic Trianon wrote: ‘They seem to choose that which is ugly, deformed, repugnant…’ (R2,p338). The critics wrote in generalities which makes identification of the exhibited works difficult (R2,p338).
1881, the results:
The number of visitors was no succes (R5,p125). I could find no information on the costs, nor of the profits.
Wissman (R2,p337-352) emphasizes the realist painting style of the partakers, laying emphasize on line and drawing (R2,p339). But she doesn’t discern between the Realism of the Barbizon-school, Courbet and contemporary painters as Bastien-Lepage. Still, many figure paintings are rendered quite loose, so there is less emphasize on line and many landscapes were exhibited, also in a more loose brushstroke. So, I can’t agree with Wissman.
My main sources are Moffett (1986=R2=aR1), Berson (1996=R90), Dayez (1974=R87=aR2), Rewald (1973=R1), Walther (2013=R3), Roe (2006=R4), Denvir (1993=R5), Monneret (1978-81=R88), Adler (1998=R89). See the link for other general References (=Rx) and to the internet references (=iRx). See here below for additional references (=aRx). See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.
Additional references (=aRx):
- archive.org//t7cr6bg0d (Online version of Moffett: The New Painting, 1986 =R2=iR19)
- impressionistarts.com/sixth (webpage on the 6th ‘impressionist’ exposition; =iR374)
Recommanded citation: “Impressionism, a historical reconstruction: The 6th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1881; general info. Last modified 2023/09/26. https://www.impressionism.nl/1881-expo-info/.”
Note: More info and pictures will be added.