The Influence of Japanese Art• In 1853, Commodore Matthew C. Perry of the United StatesNavy lead a fleet of heavily armed steam-powered frigates to Edo,Japan, where he threatened to open fire upon the town if Japandid not agree to a trade agreement with the U.S. (it was a “closedcountry” that did not trade with Europe/the U.S.).• Once trade begun, compilations of wood block prints byJapanese artists, such as Hokusai, made their way into the UnitedStates and Europe, where they were eagerly collected by artists.• The French coined the term Japonisme to describe the Japaneseaesthetic, which was popular due to its exoticism and beauty.• Describe the style of the Japanese prints. How are they differentfrom European artwork?• Ways in which European art was influenced by the newlyavailable Japanese wood block prints:- asymmetry of compositions (off balance, off center placement ofsubjects)- dramatic cropping of image/picture plane- use of flat areas of color/pattern, less traditional modeling- stacking up object in picture plane to create space/depth- leaving large areas “empty” in a composition
Concept of Modernism• The Impressionists sought to paint everyday life (like theRealists), but they also tried to show its elusive impermanence.• Later 1800s in France saw continued increase in urbanization,industrialization, secularism (from Darwin), Marxism.• Modernism: The combination of rapid technological changesand exposure to a variety of cultures led to an acute sense inWestern cultures of the world’s impermanence. Modernistartists seek to capture the images and sensibilities of their age,but modernism is more than just an attempt to capture the realworld (like with the Realists) – Modernists also critically examinethe premises of art itself.• “The essence of Modernism lies in the use of characteristicmethods of a discipline to criticize the discipline itself, not inorder to subvert it, but to entrench it more firmly in its area ofcompetence… Realistic, illusionist art had dissembled themedium, using art to conceal art. Modernism used art to callattention to art.” – Clement Greenburg (art critic)• Modernist artists (of which Impressionists are a subgroup)called attention to the surface of the painting, and to thepainting as an object itself.
Claude Monet in His Studio Boat Aesthetics of Impressionism Edouard Manet, 1874.1. Rendering visual world as it appears to the eye, not as it actuallyexists. Capturing a quick, spontaneous “impression” of an image.- emphasis on optical sensations-Impressionist subject matter is the experience of looking.-Artists recorded what they saw as well as what they felt.2. Drawing attention to the surface of the painting – texture, brushstrokes, lack of modeling, thick paint- painters minimize the effects of modeling and perspective, forcingthe viewer to look at the painted surface and to recognize it as a flatplane covered with pigment- often short, choppy brush strokes3. Artists worked outdoors (en plein air), looking directly at nature –trying to capture transitory light/color effects- portable pigments in tubes using new chemical pigments makepossible working outdoors using intense contrasting colors.4. Representation of atmosphere, climate, and light effects- artists work rapidly (or in sequence) to capture the changing light- forms bathed in light create the illusion (“an envelope of light”)5. Painted directly on a white canvas (not neutralized by brown orgreen as before)
Color Theory • Impressionist Color Theory (based on scientific and medical discoveries) Color wheel for paint - light is the source of our experience of color – white light is made up of colored light - local color (the actual color of an object) is modified by the quality of the light & reflections from other objects - shadows are not black/grey but composed of colors modified by reflections & other conditions - two complementary colors in small amounts placed next to each other blend in the eye to look like neutral tones - juxtaposition of colors on a canvas for the eye to fuse at aColor wheel for light distance produces a more intense hue than mixing them • The first Impressionist Exhibition was held in 1874 (Paris). • The Influence of Photography - cropping of subjects at edges of picture plane to give casual “snapshot” quality - imbalanced or asymmetrical compositions – the most important element in the painting is often not in the center.
Impression: SunriseClaude Monet, 1872. Oil on canvas. Claude Monet 1’ 7” x 2’ 1” • After the Realist Courbet bucked the official Salon exhibition (run by the Academy of Beaux Arts and funded by the French government) by putting on his own exhibition, separate exhibitions began to proliferate, allowing a wider range of artistic styles to gain recognition. • The first Impressionist Exhibition was held in 1874 (Paris). • Monet preferred to paint outdoors, giving him the opportunity to closely study the effects of changing light and atmosphere on the way things appeared. • In this painting, Monet made no attempt to blend the edges of his brushstrokes, or refine the details. • Which area grabs your attention? How? • What colors do you see? • What is the mood? • Although Monet worked primarily in France, this painting was done in England. He fled there temporarily during the Franco- Prussian War that broke out in 1870.
On the Bank of the Seine, BennecourtMonet, 1868. Oil on canvas. 32” x 39”. On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt • Although this painting initially seems to be set in the countryside, upon closer inspection we notice the dock and houses on the far bank, placing this scene in the suburbs outside of Paris (easily accessible by the new train lines). • This earlier work of Monet shows the beginnings of his experimentation with painting in plein air, using colors directly from the paint tubes without much mixing. • By placing bold strokes of color next to each other, Monet created a sense of shimmering sunny brilliance. • The brightness of the color is enhanced by Monet’s lack of underpainting, as taught by the Academy of Beaux Arts. • Monet sought to capture the play of light quickly, before it changed.
Rouen Cathedral: The Portal• In his intense drive to study the phenomena of light andcolor, Monet painted around forty views of the façade ofthe Rouen Cathedral (in Rouen, north of Paris).• Monet observed the cathedral from nearly the sameviewpoint, but at different times of the day, and undervarious climatic conditions (sunny, cloudy, misty, etc.).• Monet’s loose brushstrokes create a shimmering sense ofatmosphere.• The subject of these paintings is NOT Rouen Cathedral,but rather the effects of light as it plays across the surfaceof the cathedral. Rouen Cathedral: The Portal Monet, 1894. Oil on canvas, 3’3” x 2’2”.
Giverny• In the latter half of his life, Monet bought a house inGiverny (rural, northern France), where he constructed alarge, lush garden.• He spent the last thirty years of his life painting around250 images of his garden, mainly focusing on the pond,bridge, and water lilies.• As he grew older, his eyes developed cataracts, and itbecame difficult for him to see.• As a result, his brushwork became even looser, verging attimes upon total abstraction. Water Lilies Monet, 1906.
Wooded Landscape at l’HermitageCamille Pissarro, 1878. Oil on canvas, 18” x Pissarro 22”. • A friend of Monet, Camille Pissarro also painted scenes were the urban meets nature. Many of his paintings depict the countryside with small towns or factories embedded into them, showing the encroachment of urbanization. • During Monet’s time in London during the Franco-Prussian War, Pissarro adopted some of Monet’s painting techniques. • He focused on using lighter colors and loose, short, choppy brushstrokes. • After the war ended, both artists returned to France, where Pissarro continued to paint the fleeting effects of light and color. • In this painting, Pissarro created an up-close screen of trees, which seem to flatten the depth of the picture (although we can see buildings in the distance). • There is a figure in the lower right. • The brushstrokes are short, multi-directional, and done in thick paint. • What is the effect of the brushstrokes?
La Place du Theatre Francais Pissarro Camille Pissarro, 1898.• In 1852, the French emperor Napoleon III ordered Paris rebuiltwith new water and sewer systems, street lighting, andresidences to accommodate Paris’ growing population, andwidened streets (known as boulevards), to enable themobilization of the military in the event of any future uprisings.• To oversee his new modernization project, Napoleon IIIappointed a city superintendent, Baron Georges Haussman.• The “Haussmannization” of Paris turned it from a cramped,medieval city into the scenic and open city of today.• Some Parisian Impressionists chose to depict their impressionsof contemporary urban life.• The focus of Pissarro’s painting is not on the buildings, butrather the bustling people that made up the street life.• Instead of depicting the fugitive passing of light, Pissarrosought to capture a spontaneous “snapshot” of a moment,influenced by the aesthetic of photography.• To achieve this spontaneous look, Pissarro took photographsof the street, then used them as reference when he painted.• The random arrangement of figures, arbitrary cutting off offigures at the edges, and flattened perspective from the highviewpoint all are reminiscent of photography.
Caillebotte• Caillebotte’s (pronounced “kai-bot”)Paris Street, Rainy Day also focuses onthe newly modernized wide boulevardsof Paris, and the fashionable citizenswho used them.• How is Caillebotte’s style differentfrom the other Impressionists?• What about his artwork makes itImpressionistic?• Like Pissarro, Caillebotte wasinfluenced by photography. What aboutthis artwork seems reminiscent of aphotographic “snapshot”? Paris Street, Rainy Day Gustave Caillebotte, 1877. Oil on canvas, 6’9” x 9’9”.
Villa at the SeasideBerthe Morisot, 1874. MorisotOil on canvas, 1’8” x 2’. • Many impressionist paintings depict scenes of people NORTON SIMON! picnicking, boating, and strolling around the resort areas on the seashore or along the Seine River, which were easily accessible to Parisians via new train lines. • Berthe Morisot (Manet’s sister in law) made paintings that focused on domestic subjects (the one realm of Parisian life where society allowed an upper-class woman access) as well as outdoor scenes. • In this painting, an elegantly (but not ostentatiously) dressed woman at a well-to-do seaside resort looks out at the peaceful sailboats with her child (whose own toy boat is a dash of red). • Morisot used the open, loose brushwork and plein air lighting to record her quick perceptions. • No where did Morisot linger on contours or details. • The filmy, soft focus feeling conveys the outdoor airiness of the seaside, and her figure placement seems casual and relaxed.
Summer’s DayMorisot, 1879. Oil on canvas. Summer’s Day • As a woman, Morisot was not free to roam the streets of Paris in search of a subject to paint. She was confined to the world of women’s lives. • Although she began painting in the 1850s, it was not until the 1870s that her art began to take on a more fluid, impressionistic style. • In this painting, two ladies properly escort each other, and their ferry is steered by an unseen boatmen who is at their bidding. • The short choppy brushstrokes flatten the picture plane of the canvas, bringing our attention to the foreground. • Although she was not able to comment on modern city life in the ways of her brother-in-law, Morisot nevertheless painted intensely modern pictures.
Mother and Child Mary Cassatt Mary Cassatt, 1890. Oil on canvas.• Mary Cassatt was an American-born artist. She studied in 3’11” x 2’1”Pennsylvania, then moved with her sister to France.• She became friends with Degas, who became her mentor. Shefrequently exhibited her work with the Impressionists.• As a woman, she was not able to frequent the cafes with hermale artist friends, and she had the responsibility of caring forher aging parents, who had moved to Paris to join her.• Because of these reasons, her subjects (like Morisot) aremostly domestic scenes of women with children.• In this painting, the hands and faces of the figures are solidlymodeled in a realistic manner, strongly contrasting with theloose, broad brushstrokes and unfinished quality of thebackground.• This painting transforms a quiet moment between mother andchild into an homage to motherhood.
The Bath Mary Cassatt Mary Cassatt, 1892. Oil on canvas.• This painting revisits the theme of a tender moment between 3’3” x 2’2”a mother and child.• How is this painting different in style than the last one?• In what ways was this painting influenced by Japanese woodblock prints?• Although Mary Cassatt remained an expatriate, sheencouraged friends visiting from the United States to purchaseImpressionist artworks, helping to make Impressionism popularin the U.S. before it was even accepted in Paris.
Degas Rehearsal on Stage• Instead of painting outdoors, Degas painted in a studio from Edgar Degas,sketches and photographs, sometimes in oil, but also frequently 1874.in pastel, a new medium he championed. Pastel over brush and-ink drawing• The son of a banker, Degas studied at the Ecole (School) de on thin, cream-Beaux Arts, and spent 3 years studying the classics in Rome. colored paper,• He primarily focused on entertainment: the racetrack, the mounted onmusic hall, and the ballet/opera, although he was also well canvas.known for his series of bathing women. 21” x 28”.• Degas did not draw/paint actual dancers, instead he hireddancers to come to his studio to pose for him.• His depictions of dancers at times include social commentary:the dancers’ poses are intended to show how the life of adancer is tiresome, involving many hours of hard practice.• Also, because ballet dancers often came from lower classfamilies, they were widely assumed to be sexually “available,”and attracted the attention of wealthy men willing to supportthem financially for sexual favors. The two men lounging on theright of Rehearsal on Stage have presumably paid to watch thepractice.• In what ways do these drawings show the influence ofJapanese prints and photography?
Degas Portrait of Mary Cassatt• Degas and Cassatt had a stormy friendship. Both were fiercely Degas, 1884. Oil on canvas.independent and ambitious artists, dedicated to their art. 28” x 23”.• However, both held the other in mutual respect. They inspiredeach other, challenged each other to improve, and helped eachother’s careers at various points.• About Cassatt, Degas once remarked, “I am not willing toadmit a woman can draw that well.”• In this portrait of Mary Cassatt, Degas depicts her with athoughtful expression, leaning forward to listen to the viewerwhile playing a game of cards. He shows her with an air ofintelligence that he did not use on most of his depictions ofwomen.
BoatingEdouard Manet, 1874. Oil on canvas. 38” x 51”. Manet • Later in his career, Manet was influenced by the style of Monet and the other Impressionists. He began painting with lighter colors and looser strokes, but continued his focus on gritty themes of real life. • In this painting, a young man, who is a lower-class boatman (as signaled by his uniform of the round collared white shirt and white pants, with the flat straw hat) steers a boat, accompanied by a young woman. • The woman seems uncomfortable in her position. The fact that she is un-chaperoned hints at a subtext of impropriety.
A Bar at the Folies BergereManet, 1882. Oil on canvas. 3’1” x 4’3”. Manet • Setting: what sort of place was the Folies- Bergere? What happened there? What do you see in the background? • Central figure: What is her mood? What class is she/how can you tell? • What is displayed in the foreground? What is their connection to the central figure? • Does anything not make visual sense? Why did Manet paint it that way? • How is this painting thematically similar to Manet’s other works, such as Olympia, Boating, and Le Dejeuner sur l’Herbe?
Le Moulin de la Galette Renoir Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1876. Oil on canvas, 4’3” x 5’8”.• Industrialization lead to a wealthy middle class with time andmoney to spend at cabarets and dance halls.• This painting by Renoir depicts the Parisian dancehall LeMoulin de la Galette (located in the Montmarte section of Paris,near the Moulin Rouge), which had an outdoor courtyard thatwould open during good weather.• Renoir was a Beaux-Arts trained figure painter, and even afterhe embraced Impressionism, he focused on figures.• Renoir glamorized the working-class clientele of the dance hallby placing his artist friends and their models in their midst.• The people are relaxed, smiling, dancing, and chatting. Theirflirtations are made innocent by the children nearby.• The dappled sun filters through the leaves of the trees above,to fall in illuminated patches on the people below, achieving theImpressionist impulse to capture fleeting light.• Renoir believed paintings should be beautiful, powerful,inimitable, and indescribable with bare words.
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.