Impressionism

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Survey of Impressionist artists including Monet, Degas, Morisot, Cassatt, and Renoir.

Survey of Impressionist artists including Monet, Degas, Morisot, Cassatt, and Renoir.

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  • 1. Schools of Modern Art Impressionism (1860-1900) • Term coined by conservative art critic Louis Leroy in 1874 • Shares with Realism a sketchy quality of brushwork, feeling of being in the moment, attention to modern subject matter, desire to appear modern • Desire to capture the changes occurring in modern day France Claude Monet, Impression, soleil levant (Impression Sunrise), 1872. Oil on canvas, 17 ¾” x 21 ¾”. Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris.
  • 2. Schools of Modern Art Impressionism (1860-1900) • An art movement which took its name from one particular painting by painter Claude Monet (1840-1926), Impression: Sunrise of 1872. • Born from the naturalism of the Realists, as well as an interest in the transitory experience of light and color on objects • Impressionism did two distinct things to painting: – It elevated color to the status of subject matter, liberating the artist's marks from previous craft constraints – It inadvertently asserted painting's relationship to the flat surface. • The ripple effects of this will be felt throughout modernism culminating with the Abstract Expressionists. Claude Monet, Impression, soleil levant (Impression Sunrise), 1872. Oil on canvas, 17 ¾” x 21 ¾”. Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris.
  • 3. Schools of Modern Art Characteristics of Impressionist paintings include: • • • • • • • Relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes of NO uniformity Painted en plein air (in plain air, meaning outside in nature) Physical declaration of the pigment itself (inherited from the Romantic painters (like Eugène Delacroix), the heavy modeling impasto of Courbet, and overt gestures of Manet Open composition Emphasizes accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities, studying the changing of time, season, and weather Includes movement as an essential element of human perception and experience, quite often through the introduction of unusual angles Focus on the “everyday” of the leisure class and ordinary subject matter primarily of city/urban living
  • 4. • Artists like Monet retreat from the Realists’ aim to represent their world as directly and objectively as possible. • Aesthetic, personal, and social concerns lead to the development of new styles of painting. • Impressionism develops as an alleviator to social upheaval as well as an aesthetic response to Realist, Romantic, and Neoclassical forerunners. (top) Destruction of Paris following the Franco-Prussian war, siege of Paris, and (bottom) the Commune 1871, Communards shot by firing squad of French soldiers in the streets of Paris
  • 5. Becoming Modern • Haussmanization, as it became known, took place 1853-1870 and modernized Paris. • Under Emperor Napoleon III’s order, Haussman modernized Paris by widening its streetsdisplacing thousands who lived in the area. • As Paris became the first modern city, its inhabitants and their leisure activities became central focus of Impressionist painters. Gustave Caillebotte, Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877. Oil on canvas, 83 ½” x 108 ¾”. The Art Institute of Chicago
  • 6. Becoming Modern Emperor Napoleon III by Hipolyte Flandrin (Salon of 1863) with Plan of Paris – radical urban renewal designed by Baron Haussmann, 1853-1869.
  • 7. Becoming Modern Blvd. Haussman with Galeries Lafayette, one of the first department stores: commodity culture Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann urban renewal program, Paris:18531869
  • 8. Impressionism Claude Monet (1840-1926) • One of many locations visited by Impressionist painters during summer holiday • Bright whites, blues, greens, and yellows paint the image here of a sunny afternoon • Keeps his objects bright and close to the front of the plane, nothing disappears into the background • No chiaroscuro is used to model form • Two-dimensionality rules trees, the sky, etc. • Only diagonal or suggestion of depth is the rowboat Claude Monet, On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt, 1868. Oil on canvas, 32 1/8” x 39 5/8.” The Art Institute, Chicago. Fig. 24.5
  • 9. Becoming Modern Claude Monet, Boulevard des Capucines, 1873. Oil on canvas, 31 ¼” x 23 ¼”. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Auguste Renoir, Moulin de la Galette, 1876. Oil on canvas, 51 ½” x 69”. Musée d'Orsay, Paris.
  • 10. Impressionism Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) • Renoir paints alongside Monet • Setting is the Restaurant Fournaise • Typical scenes show middle class leisure activities, social scenes • Spontaneity of Realism married with quick brushstrokes of Impressionism and Auguste Renoir, Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1880asymmetrical 1881. Oil on canvas, 51” x 69.” Phillips composition Collection, Washington, D.C. Fig. 24.6
  • 11. Becoming Modern • The woman’s experience of modernism was different from her male counterpart. • French artist Berthe Morisot (1841-1895) and the American expatriate Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) were the dominant women painters of the Impressionist movement. Berthe Morisot, Woman at her Toilette, c. 1875. Oil on canvas, 23” x 31 5/8”. The Art Institute of Chicago.
  • 12. Impressionism Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) • Cassatt’s Impressionism presents a female sensibility • Subjects reflect restrictions of her sex and elevation of modern woman • Typical subjects bathing scenes, mother and children, women reading or drinking tea • Japonisme evident in decoration, angle, and flatness • Contains Realist traces—the fashionable décor, bright colors, sense of spontaneity thru brushwork, and odd vantage point • Possible modernization of Renaissance theme of Virgin Mother and Christ child Mary Cassatt, The Child’s Bath (At the Bath), 1893. Oil on canvas, 39 ½” x 26.” Art Institute, Chicago. Fig. 24.7
  • 13. • Women did not enjoy the same independence as men in modern Paris. • The opera was one of a few places where women had agency, the ability to participate in the public sphere. Mary Cassatt, In the Loge, 1878. Oil on canvas, 32” x 26”. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
  • 14. • Unlike their male counterparts, female Impressionists were limited in subject matter because of restrictions on travel, propriety and gender ideals, and access to the human form and education. • As a result their subject matter tended to focus on the private sphere-women and children, women at the bath, or enjoying other Berthe Morisot, The Mother and Sister of the acceptable “feminine” Artist, c. 1869/1870, oil on canvas leisure activities. 39 ¾” x 32 3/16”. National Gallery of Art.
  • 15. Impressionism James Abbot McNeil Whistler (18341903) • Whistler considered his works abstract arrangements of color and form • Depicted is his lover, Jo Hiffernan • Most likely inspired by Gautier’s poem, “Symphony in White Major” – Equates painting with music • Influence of japonisme • Arrangement and cropping help James Abbot McNeil Whistler, Symphony in create feeling of spontaneity White No. II: The Little White Girl, 1864. Oil on canvas, 30 1/8” x 20 1/8.” Fig. 24.11. Tate Britain, London.
  • 16. Impressionism • 1878, Ruskin vs. Whistler trial puts modern art on trial • Ruskin writes, “I have seen, and heard, much of cockney impudence before now; but never expected a coxcomb to ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face.” • Whistler defends his art with simple but important argument, “art for art’s James Abbot McNeil Whistle, Nocturne in Black and Gold, The Falling Rocket, c. 1875. Oil on sake” panel, 23”x18”. Detroit Institute of Arts.
  • 17. Impressionism • By the mid-1880s, the Impressionist artists began to reevaluate their work and as a result, move in separate directions. • The Impressionist artists exhibited together 8 times within the span of 1874 and 1886, the year of the last Impressionist Exhibition. • Monet remained true to the visual experience but began to experiment with an antinaturalistic subjectivity and pure abstraction. • Interestingly, his final works anticipate the direction of modern art in the form of total abstraction sought by future artists including Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) and the Abstract Expressionists (late 1940s and 1950s). Claude Monet, Les Nuages (Clouds), 19161926. Oil on canvas, left panel of 3; each panel 6’6 ¾” x 13’ 11 3/8”. Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris.