Having seen their artworks get rejected by the Salon in the mid-19th century, a handful of Paris-based artists set up the Société Anonyme Coopérative des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs. This would prove to be the catalyst for these independent artists to showcase their style, known as Impressionism. With artworks from the movement being so nostalgically charged, Singulart takes a look back at the artists that made this moment in art history so venerated and influential.
1) Claude Monet
Claude Monet was a founding member of the Impressionist movement. The French painter is described as being one of the most prolific and consistent proponents of the movement’s philosophy, in which the artist would convey their perception of nature in an authentic en plain eir setting. Monet’s obsession with capturing nature was so overwhelming that he would often paint the same scene countless times in order to portray the changing of light and the passing of seasons.
2) Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Another key member of the movement, Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a close friend of Monet and the pair would try capture the scenery along the Seine, near Paris, during the 1870s. Apart from landscapes, women and children were often the subject of Renoir’s many artworks. This would help to explain why an en plair eir setting wasn’t as crucial in his artistic process as much as it would have been for his fellow Impressionists.
3) Edgar Degas
Edgar Degas was a French Impressionist known for his depiction of dance within his pieces, with over half of his artworks involving dancers. Similar to Renoir, he didn’t paint outdoors like his counterparts, and actually rejected the term ‘Impressionism’ altogether – preferring his work to be referred to as Realism. Degas had an uncanny ability to capture movement on canvas, while his portraits were lauded for their ability to convey psychological complexity.
4) Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne’s work is credited with guiding Impressionism into the next era as his pieces started to tilt towards a new artistic endeavor – Cubism. The French painter was known for his repetitive, yet characteristic, brushstrokes that captured the very essence of the landscape surrounding him. His influence on 20th century art speaks for itself, with both Matisse and Picasso reported to have remarked that Cézanne “is the father of us all”.
5) Pierre Van Dijk
Pierre Van Dijk is a contemporary Dutch artist whose works exude an Impressionist disposition. With his stabbing brushstrokes, he uses his palette as a way to engage the viewer. Van Dijk believes that in order to perceive color in its true and natural form, it is important for one not to suppress their feelings, as color is a psychological and inner phenomenon.
6) Édouard Manet
Édouard Manet was a French artist whose works sparked both reverence and controversy. Artworks such as The Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia (both from 1863) would prove to be watershed pieces that retrospectively marked the entrance into a new artistic period. It was artworks such as these that saw these untrammeled artists deal with disapproved styles and taboo subjects.
7) Olga Novokhatska
Olga Novokhatska is a contemporary Ukrainian artist whose imaginative brushstrokes serve to enhance her captivating pieces. Residing in France, a lot of her artworks depict the everyday lives of Parisians and manage to capture a sweet spot of serenity among the hustle and bustle of this iconic city – a staple of Impressionism.
8) Camille Pissarro
Stated as being the “dean of the Impressionist painters” by art historian John Rewald, Camille Pissarro was ambitious and unrelenting in his artistic undertakings. As well as helping to establish, he would go on to become the only artist from the movement to showcase all his artwork at all eight Paris Impressionist exhibitions, from 1874 to 1886. Such was his stature within the movement, Cézanne referred to him as a father figure, while Renoir described him as “revolutionary”.
9) Berthe Morisot
In a male-dominated sphere, Berthe Morisot’s work was credited with having a ‘feminine charm’. What can be assumed by this assertion is that critics of the time felt she was sensitive, soft, submissive, and a whole host of adjectives usually pinned on women from a male gaze. However, the work of Morisot was so much more important than her simply being the female voice within the movement. Her style was influential, with famous Impressionist figures referring to her as a ‘virtuoso colorist’.
10) Dominique Dupin
Dominique Dupin is a contemporary French artist, who like the aforementioned Olga Novokhatska, has a wickedly talented way of capturing the streets of Paris. With Impressionism being a key pillar within the vibrancy and depth of his works, Dupin ensures that the viewer finds a new aspect of the piece upon every glance so that they reconsider their interpretation.