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 ‘+/-‘.
- -/-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.
- -/-Other exhibitions: 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 intention 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 -/-Les XX and in 1893 its successor -/-La Libre Estétique.