Impresssionism: a historical reconstruction
The Impressionists didn’t live on an island. They were inspired by others and they inspired others. They were surrounded by other art-movements. Their expositions were surrounded by other exhibitions. Several people were important for them such as art-dealers, art-collectors and art-critics. They were surrounded by art-events and social and polical events.
I will give short information about their surroundings. I call this Meta-Impressionism. Those who want to know more I refer to the excellent book (in French) of Sophie Monneret: l’Impressionisme et son époque (1978-81 = R88) or the more modest Lexicon that Walther renders (1992/2013 = R3,p642-705). Here below you’ll find the items you can link to. Note: the most links don’t work yet, indicated with ‘-/-‘, because the pages still have to be developed. Other pages can be looked at, but are still under construction, indicated with ‘+/-‘, with ‘++/-‘, when they are almost finished, with ‘+/–‘ when they are just started.
- Pre-Impressionism: the Impressionists were inspired but other painters. Especially by the -/-English landscapists, the Barbizon painters and the -/-Honfleur painters. The most important of them were -/-Corot and -/-Jongkind.
- Salons: To make a living as painter you had to exhibit your works. The Salon was the most important way to do so. The ‘impressionist’ expositions were an alternative try. What other possibilities did they have? There was the Salon des Refusés, the Exposition Universelles and the successor of the Salon (since 1880) the Salon de la Société des Artistes Française (=SdAF). Apart from the Salon there were several other Salons, but also other Parisian, regional and international exhibitions.
- The École-des-Beaux-Arts: The way to make a career as an artist was to study at the École (or Academie) des Beaux-Arts and at the associated Ateliers. To win concours and especially the Prix de Rome.
- Neo-Classicism: Neo-Classicism or Academism was the main painting style teached at the École des Beaux-Arts. It depicted mythological, religious and historical themes. Details were redendered and the brushstroke was very smooth. Here you will find also the most important representatives.
- Romanticism: But Neo-Classicism was already caught up by Romanticism with Delacroix as the main representative.
- Para-Impressionism: And Romanticism was already caught up by -/-Realism. -/-Courbet was the main representative. Partly this inspired the Impressionists and in that sense you could call it Pre-Impressionism. But partly it coincided along the Impressionists. And that makes it interesting to compare it with the Impressionists and especially with the Impressionist painting style. So I also think that -/-Manet is best to be seen as a para-impressionist, but there were more -/-para-impressionists. The -/-Naturalists also can be seen as para-impressionists.
- +/-Art dealers: To promote and sell their works art-dealers were important. We mention the most important for the Impressionists.
- +/-Durand-Ruel: The most important art-dealer for the Impressionists was Paul Durand-Ruel.
- +/-Art collectors: The most important (early) buyers of impressionist paintings.
- +/-Art critics: Positive critics were necessary for the promotion of their works. Several critics belonged to the impressionist circles.
- +/-Art events: a chronology of art-events; mainly from 1850-1900.
- -/-Social and political developments: mainly from 1850-1900.
- +/-Neo-Impressionism: on their turn the Impressionists inspired others such as the -/-Neo-Impressionists. The most important representatives also joined the 8th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1886, namely Seurat and Signac. We will especially mention great artists like -/-Théo van Rysselberghe and -/-Henri Lebasque.
- -/-Post-Impressionism: Post-Impressionism is not one art-movement, but several ++/-art-movements that emerged in response to Impressionism. In that sence Neo-Impressionism is also seen as Post-Impressionism. The most important post-impressionists were Cézanne, Gauguin and -/-Van Gogh. I will render extra attention to -/- Fauvism as art-movement, because there is a more direct line from Impressionism to Neo-Impressionism to Fauvism.
- -/-Other expositions: the independant ‘impressionist’ expositions inspired others to do the same. In 1884 the ++/- Salon des Independants emerged, in 1890 the +/– Salon de la Société National des Beaux-Arts and in 1903 the +/-Salon d’Automne. In Brussels it inspired in 1883/84 +/-Les XX and in 1893 its successor +/-La Libre Estétique.