washes of transient light and color



Impressionism is a late 19th century French art movement interested in capturing the fleeting qualities of light, color, and movement as well as the emerging psychological principles concerning human consciousness. Impressionism represents the growing belief that the perception of reality is mediated by personal emotion and memory. Impressionism argues that we don't see the natural or "real" world objectively because everything that we perceive is filtered through unique and personal memories and emotions, so each of our minds perceives the world differently.

“Symbolism makes the very style,
the very artistic substance of
poetry inspired, transparent,
illuminated throughout like the delicate walls of an alabaster am-
phora in which a flame is ignited.”
˜ Dmitry Merezhkovsky




Monet is one of the most famous artists in history and the leading figure in the French Impressionist movement. The term Impressionism originated from the title of his painting, Impression Sunrise, 1872, and hung in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. A critic accused it of being a sketch or “impression,” not a finished painting, but it became a title appropriated by the artists. Most momentous are Monet’s romantic garden scenes, notably with water lilies, and haystacks depicted across all seasons and hours of daylight.



After studying as a porcelain painter and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Renoir became acquainted with emerging talents, Monet and Sisley. As a struggling artist he focused on portrait commissions and was accepted into the prestigious Salon a number of times. After the war and gaining some success Renoir traveled to Italy, and returned to more detailed techniques that can be seen in his many portraits and social scenes where he mastered human expression.



Like other Impressionist artists, Degas studied by copying paintings in the Louvre. During this time Degas met Manet and later got involved in the independent society of artists. After the war, Degas recuperated in America and painted portraits and indoor scenes. Back in France, Degas had a leading role in the Impressionist movement, organizing the first exhibition and every subsequent one until their disbanding in 1886. Degas is known for his many mediums and primarily his depictions of dancers.



Manet is credited to bridging the gap between the two most important are movements of the 19th century, Realism and Impressionism, though he never identified himself with either movement. Manet’s goal wasn’t to throw away old statutes, but by color innovation and forgoing religious compositions he shocked the art world; his subject matter was that of everyday life and bourgeois social scenes. Even with much opposition, a renowned critic and novelist uttered, “The future is his.”



Pissarro was both an Impressionist and Post-Impresionist landscape painter. He also had a stint at École des Beaux-Arts before getting acquainted with the local artists. After fleeing to London during the war, much of his work was destroyed. Once back in France he helped establish the artist collective that later became the Impressionist. Pissaro continued to explore techniques, such as pointillism and the more structured Post-Impressionistic style.

“The true Impressionism
is realism. So many
people do not observe.”
˜ Childe Hassam