Impressionism according to Geffroy


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The information is incomplete and maybe partly incorrect.


Impressionism: a historical reconstruction


according to Geffroy


Gustave Geffroy (1855-1926) was a romancier, historian, journalist and art-critic. He worked for the magazine ‘La Justice’ published by Clemenceau. He defended the impressionists in 3 reviews on their expositions in 1881 and 1886. In 1876 he met Manet and in 1886 Monet. He was portrayed by Raffaëlli and Marie Bracquemond (R3,p664;R90I,p479). He wrote several biographies, partly as introductions on (posthumous) exhibitions / catalogues. On Marie Bracquemond in 1919 (aR11); on Monet in 1922 (R143); on Sisley in 1927 (R384).
On this page we will look (in the future) at Geffroy’s view on Impressionism, namely from his third volume of his ‘La vie artistique’ is called ‘Histoire de l’impressionisme’ and was published in 1894 (=R157III).

Reviewing the ‘impressionist’ expositions:
Gustave Geffroy reviewed for the first time the ‘impressionist’ expositions in 1881 in La Justice. The 4th of April as G.G. and the 11th with his full name. Both reviews were called “L’exposition des artistes indépendants” (R90I,p341-344). Namely the second review was quite extensive. In 1886 his extended review, also in La Justice, was called “Salon de 1886: VIII. Hors du Salon: Les Impressionnistes”. (R90I,p449-452) Note the change from ‘indépendants’ to ‘Impressionnistes’. He wrote most extensively on Degas.



Histoire de l’impressionisme (1894):
Geffroy wrote his Histoire de l’Impressionnisme from 1881-1894. It was published in 1894. Geffroy dedicated this work to Claude Monet. In an ‘Avant-propos’ Geffroy writes in general terms on Impressionism (p.1-53). Then he writes on individual artists: Claude Monet (p.54-95), Camille Pissarro (p.96-110), Auguste Renoir (p.111-126), Edouard Manet (p.127-146), Edgar Degas (p.147-180), Jean-François Raffaëlli (p.181-226), Jean-Louis Forain (p.227-248), Paul Cézanne (p.249-260), Berthe Morisot (p.261-267), Marie Bracquemond (p.268-274), Mary Cassatt (p.275-281), Alfred Sisley (p.282-285), Armand Guillaumin (p.286-288), Gustave Caillebotte (p.289-295). At last he dedicates a chapter to the art-collector Georges de Bellio (p.296-299)
Geffroy suggests that it was Degas (alone) who took the initiative for the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition (p.268). They were ‘an independent group, free of every official attachment, enemy of false hierarchies’ (p269).
Geffroy mentions the ‘preoccupation to mark the influence of light phenomena on things’. ‘Impressionism was born, little by little, by this search, in this surroundings of liberty.’ (p269)




Geffroy, Gustave: La Vie artistique; Vol.1-8. Paris, 1892-1903. (R157)
Vol 1. Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Raffaëlli, Jongkind, Whistler, etc. Paris, 1892; see link = iR19.
Vol.2: Pointe sèche Rodin + Salon 1892 + Le Symbolisme, etc. Paris, 1893; see link = iR19.
Vol.3: Histoire de l’impressionisme; de Bellio, Marie Bracquemond, Caillebotte, Cassatt, Cézanne, Degas, Forain, Guillaumin, Manet, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Raffaëlli, Renoir, Sisley. Paris, 1894; see link = iR19.
Vol. 4: Salons de 1894 + 1895. Paris, 1895; see link = iR19.
Vol.5: Hommage à Caillebotte, p307-310. Paris, 1897.
Vol.6: Point sèche de Pissarro + Boudin, Manet, Legros, les impressionistes, etc. Paris, 1900; see link; = iR19.
Vol. 8: Bonvin, Cazin, Besnard, Salon 1900 + 1901, etc. Paris, 1903; see link = iR19.

Catalogue des peintures, aquarelles, dessins et eaux-fortes de Marie Bracquemond at Berheim-Jeune in Paris in 1919; with a preface by Gustave Geffroy ( =iR19) (aR11)

Geffroy, Gustave: Monet, sa vie, son temps, son oeuvre. Paris,1922. (see online PDF; =iR19 preview) (R143)

Geffroy, Gustave: Sisley. Paris, 1927. (see link to; =iR40) (R384)