Post-Impressionism

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Survey of Postimpressionist art. Artists include Seurat, van Gogh, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Cezanne.

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Post-Impressionism

  1. 1. The Modern Condition • Increasing economic instability, expanding colonialism, and increasing nationalism fused with the need for personal identity and purity lead to conflict on a global scale. • People began to question established tradition, law, and the concept of truth. – Some turned back to the church and explored new religions from the East. Others sought answers in science and the developing fields of psychology, sociology, anthropology, and art. World Colonial Empires, c. 1900.
  2. 2. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism(1880s-1920) • Term coined by the British artist and art critic Roger Fry in 1910 to describe the development of French art since Manet. • Fry applied the term wile organizing the 1910 exhibition “Manet and the Post-Impressionists” Poster of the 1889 Exhibition of Paintings by the Impressionist and Synthetist Group, at Café des Arts, known as the The Volpini Exhibition, 1889.
  3. 3. Post-Impressionism Themes: • Urban life • Landscape • Exotic themes Forms: • No single approach • Rejection of illusionism, window onto the world • Expressive use of color, line, brush stroke Paul Cézanne, Mount Sainte-Victoire, ca. 1885-1887. Oil in canvas, 25 1/2 x 32.” Courtauld Institute, London. Fig. 25.1
  4. 4. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism Most often associated with 5 painters who were influenced by Impressionism: – – – – – Paul Cézanne(1839-1906) Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) Vincent van Gogh (1953-1890) Georges Pierre Seurat (1859-1891) Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) • These artists were contemporaries of the Impressionists but chose NOT to work in the Impressionist style.
  5. 5. Schools of Modern Art Characteristics of Post-Impressionist paintings include: • • • • The rejection of restrictions of Impressionism Continued and exaggerated use of vivid color Thick application of paint Noticeable application of pigment (distinctive and personalized brushstrokes) • Contemporary subject matter • Accentuation of geometric form for expressionist purpose • Abstracted form
  6. 6. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • Cézanne did have an Impressionist period from 1870-1878, even exhibiting in the first (1874) and third Impressionist shows (1877). • Even then, Cézanne’s paintings showed evidence of his intense study of his subjects from nature. – Impressionists painted outdoors, PostImpressionists generally brought their canvases indoors and painted from memory. Paul Cézanne, Jas de Bouffan (The Pond), 1876. Oil on canvas, 18.1”x 22.2”. The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.
  7. 7. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • Artist Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) is considered by many to be the father of 20th century experimentation. • Cézanne sought through his work to paint his ideas about the nature of art. • He studied the works of artists Delacroix and Poussin at the Louvre in Paris. • His unique and unusual blending of emotion and logic precedes and gives credence to Expressionism and laid the foundation for a radically new art in the 20th century. Paul Cézanne, Battle of Love, 1880. Oil on canvas 14 7/8” x 18 ¼”. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
  8. 8. Édouard Manet, Déjeuner sur l’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass), 1863. Oil on canvas; 6’9 1/8” x 8’ 10 ¼”. Musée d'Orsay, Paris. • Cézanne’s Battle of Love is an adaptation of Manet’s 1863, Déjeuner sur l’herbe . Paul Cézanne, Battle of Love, 1880. Oil on canvas 14 7/8” x 18 ¼”. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
  9. 9. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • To define and make visual his theories on art, Cézanne focused on a fixed mix of subjects: – Bathers – The Bay of Marseilles – Still Lifes (particularly the apple) – Mont Sainte-Victoire Paul Cézanne, The Bay of Marseilles, Seen from L'Estaque, ca. 1885. Oil in canvas. 31 1/2 x 39 5/8”. Art Institute of Chicago.
  10. 10. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • The various views of Marseilles demonstrate the revolutionary evolution in his personal style that would give birth to abstraction. • Here, his characteristic brushstrokes begin to make an appearance. • Cézanne would become known for the planes of color and small brushstrokes used to build up the complex surface of the canvas. • Like others before him, he denies the illusive recession of depth by cutting off the scene at the sides. • The overwhelming area of blue, which would become inspiration for modern and Paul Cézanne, The Bay of Marseilles, Seen from L'Estaque, ca. 1885. Oil in contemporary artists alike, dominates the canvas. 31 1/2 x 39 5/8”. Art Institute scene over the natural colors of the houses. of Chicago.
  11. 11. Post-Impressionism Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) • Painted in Provence where he spent the remainder of his life • Light-filled scene of natural landscape • Broad brushstrokes, bright colors • Canvas is an arrangement of shapes and planes that echo throughout • Compression of background and foreground • Diagonal lines of land mirrored in the design of roofs Paul Cézanne, Mount Sainte-Victoire, ca. 1885-1887. Oil in canvas, 25 1/2 x 32.” Courtauld Institute, London. Fig. 25.1
  12. 12. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • Post-Impressionists accentuated the geometric, abstracted and exaggerated form for expressionist purpose, and introduced the arbitrariness of color. Paul Cézanne, The Basket of Apples, c. 1893. Oil on canvas, 24 3/8” x 31”. The Art Institute of Chicago.
  13. 13. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • Cézanne carefully arranged his still lifes to create a challenging and dynamic composition. – Each object was strategically placed to create relationships between the different elements. • Each form was modulated with his iconic small, flat brushstrokes; his shapes distorted to order, and contours loosened to address the spatial tension of the arrangement. • He would often tilt the table, bottles, bowls, etc. to unify color areas-this allows him to concentrate on the Paul Cézanne, Still Life, Drapery, Pitcher, and relationships and tensions between Fruit Bowl, 1893–1894. Oil on canvas, 23.2” × objects represented. 28.5”. Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC.
  14. 14. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • The 1890s witnessed Cézanne’s brushstrokes increase in size and abstraction • Each brushstroke dances across the canvas independently, yet harmoniously • Brushstrokes are flat, sit on canvas emphasizing its surface • His work grew more expressive, his contours broken • The artist’s hand is increasingly present in process Paul Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from Les Lauves, 1902-1906. Oil on canvas, 25 ½” x 32”. Private collection.
  15. 15. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • Left unfinished, this piece was the conclusion of the artist’s experimentation with a subject that occupied him for some 30 years. • His Bathers, painted in multiple varieties, were painted from the imagination and became example for his younger contemporaries including the Symbolist painters. Paul Cézanne, Large Bathers, 1906. Oil on canvas 82 7/8” x 98 ¾” . Philadelphia Museum of Art.
  16. 16. Schools of Modern Art Georges Seurat(1859-1891) • 1884 reveals new painting style • Painting rejected by Salon, exhibited first exhibition of Independent Artists • Typical scene of leisurely activities of working class Georges Seurat, A Bathing Place, Asnières, 1884. Oil on canvas, 79 ½” x 118”. National Gallery, London. Fig. 25.2
  17. 17. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • Post-Impressionists rejected the restrictions of Impressionism yet maintained the use of vivid color, thick application of paint, noticeable application of pigment (distinctive brushstrokes), and contemporary subject matter Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884-86. Oil on canvas, 6’9 ½” x 10’ 1 ¼”. The Art Institute of Chicago. Fig. 25.2
  18. 18. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • Seurat was an academically trained artist, classical enthusiast, and fan of artists including Poussin and Ingres. • He took a scientific approach to painting studying color theory of Ogden Rood and the mechanics of vision. • This led to the development of his unique application of the paint to canvas in the form of dots, or points giving his style the title of Pointillism (also known as NeoImpressionism). Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884-86. Oil on canvas, 6’9 ½” x 10’ 1 ¼”. The Art Institute of Chicago.
  19. 19. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • Large canvas meant to function in tradition of history painting • Over 27 studies created in preparation of work • Effort to create utopian vision of working and middle class Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884-86. Oil on canvas, 6’9 ½” x 10’ 1 ¼”. The Art Institute of Chicago. Fig. 25.2
  20. 20. Schools of Modern Art Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) • Sought a spiritual life • Art school background in Holland, very basic • Heavily influenced by Rembrandt and the heroic life of the peasant • Early palette dark, earthly colors • Works have an expressionist sensibility Vincent Van Gogh, Potato Eaters, 1885. Oil on canvas, 32.3” x 44.9”. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
  21. 21. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • Considered a PostImpressionist, his work drew influence from the Impressionist color palette, causing him to develop a deep love of and emphasis on color. • He used color to communicate emotion in his work. • His Night Café is a prime example. Vincent van Gogh, The Night Café, 1888. Oil on canvas, 29” x 36 ¼”. Yale University Art Gallery, CT
  22. 22. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • “I have tried to express the terrible passions of humanity by means of red and green.” -van Gogh – Van Gogh uses acidic colors and incorrect perspective to create a claustrophobic nightmare and frightening experience for the viewer. – His use of perspective anticipates the work of Surrealist artists of the 20th century. Vincent van Gogh, The Night Café, 1888. Oil on canvas, 29” x 36 ¼”. Yale University Art Gallery, CT
  23. 23. Schools of Modern Art Vincent van Gogh, SelfPortrait, 1888. Oil on canvas, 29” x 36 ¼”. Harvard University Art Museum, MA. Post-Impressionism • Considered his best known work, Starry Night displays van Gogh’s acknowledgement and respect for his Dutch roots. • van Gogh never abandons the landscape and carries on the Netherlandish tradition of portraiture with his series of selfportraits. Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night, 1889. Oil on canvas, 29” x 36 ¼”. Museum of Modern Art, NY. Fig. 25.3
  24. 24. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • Considered one of the fathers of 20th century modernism, van Gogh is known for his raw emotional content, brutal honesty, and experimentally bold use of color used to evoke response. • Like his friend, Gauguin, he is credited for paving the way for Expressionist ad Fauve artists. Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night, 1889. Oil on canvas, 29” x 36 ¼”. Museum of Modern Art, NY. Fig. 25.3
  25. 25. Schools of Modern Art Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) • Uses religious symbolism • Depicts view outside room at sanitarium • "... it does me good to do what’s difficult. That doesn’t stop me having a tremendous need for, shall I say the word – for religion – so I go outside at night to paint the stars.'” • Was not happy with his painting • Increasing self-doubt and other symptoms lead to his attempted suicide Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night, 1889. Oil on canvas, 29” x 36 ¼”. Museum of Modern Art, NY. Fig. 25.3
  26. 26. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • PostImpressionist artists sought an escape from modernity. • Some, like Gauguin attempt to find this utopia in other lands. Paul Gauguin, Nevermore, 1897. Oil on canvas, 23 7/8” x 45 5/8”. Courtauld Gallery, London.
  27. 27. Schools of Modern Art Symbolism • Symbolist painters favored the ideal over the real, symbol over sight, and conception over perception. • They sought a balance between mind and spirit, thought and emotion. Gustave Moreau, The Apparition, c. 1876. Oil on canvas; 21 ¼” x 171/2”. Louvre, Paris
  28. 28. Schools of Modern Art Symbolism (late 19th century) • Symbolism is directly influenced by Romanticism; it is a direct response to Art for Art’s Sake. • Symbolists favored the ideal over the real, symbol over sight, and conception over perception. • They sought a balance between mind and spirit, thought and emotion. Henri Fantin-Latour, Homage to Delacroix, 1864. Oil on canvas, 63”x 98.4”. Musée d'Orsay, Paris.
  29. 29. Schools of Modern Art Symbolism (late 19th century) • Symbolism was an interdisciplinary movement with an origin in poetry and literature. • In literature, the movement was founded by author Charles Baudelaire whose Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil, 1857) was a heavily influential inspiration to visual artists. • Symbolists had no vested need to influence contemporary art, politics, or social policy. • Symbolist artists enjoyed free access to the imagination ad artistic license. Delacroix Henri Fantin-Latour, Homage to Delacroix, 1864. Oil on canvas, 63”x 98.4”. Musée d'Orsay, Paris.
  30. 30. Schools of Modern Art Gustave Moreau (1826-1898) • Works predate Symbolism but become models for the movement • Works combine Romantic motifs with enigmatic imagery • Return to religious inquiry, interest in the spiritual and supernatural • Attention to detail, influence of Near East in costume and decoration Gustave Moreau, The Apparition, c. 1876. Oil on canvas; 21 ¼” x 171/2”. Louvre, Paris. Fig. 25.6
  31. 31. Schools of Modern Art Symbolism (late 19th century) • Artists including Gustave Moreau (1826-1898), Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (18241898), and Odilon Redon (1840-1916) were associated with a smaller PostImpressionist movement called, Symbolism. • Symbolism was an exclusive movement, its artists associated with a very limited circle, read specific authors, and had very different ideas about art. Puvis de Chavannes, Summer, 1891. Oil on canvas, 4’11” x 7’7 ½”. Cleveland Museum of Art.
  32. 32. Schools of Modern Art Symbolism (late 19th century) • High point of French Symbolism 1874-1880 • Declared a movement 1866 • Look to musicians, poets, and writers for inspiration • Reaction to Darwin’s evolution (as early as 1858) as well as Realism, Impressionism, and Positivism • Elite group of artists • Stresses subconscious and mystical, feelings and emotion Odilon Redon, The Eye Like a Strange • Interest in the mind and Balloon Mounts Toward Infinity, from the subconscious before Freud series Edgar Allen Poe, 1882. Lithograph, • Influential on Art Nouveau artists 10 1/4” x 7 1/16”. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. Fig. 25.7
  33. 33. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • Gauguin rejects the traditionalism of Puvis de Chavannes and Moreau and the optical naturalism of Impressionism. • “Synthesis of form and color derived from the observation of the dominant element”. • Uses color arbitrarily rather than to describe an object visually, privileges the creative act, considers painting an abstraction. • Heavy influence on Nabis Group and Fauves. Paul Gauguin, The Spirit of the Dead keeps Watch, 1892. Oil on canvas, 28.5” × 36.38”. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.
  34. 34. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • Post-Impressionist artist, Paul Gauguin was closely associated with a group of Symbolist painters. • He was known for his experimental use of color. • His work was particularly influential on artists Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). • His style evolved from interests in folk art, Japanese prints, and Cloisonnism. – His Yellow Christ is a premiere example of the cloisonné style (a style of painting with bold and flat forms separated by dark contours). Paul Gauguin, The Yellow Christ (Le Christ jaune), 1889. Oil on canvas, 36.3” x28.7”. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.
  35. 35. • Artists like Gauguin outline figures in a style similar to Cloisonnism, a technique of decorating using a metal framework and enamel, gemstones, and glass Sutton Hoo purse cover, from East Anglia, England; c. 630. Gold with garnets and cloisonné originally on ivory or bone (since lost); 8” long
  36. 36. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • Gauguin’s work practices synthetism (the fusion of subject and idea with color and form). • The scene painted is anti-Realist. • Gauguin, and many other PostImpressionists, seek an escape from the industrialization an urbanization of modern Paris. • Artists take advantage of colonization and Christianizing efforts to explore pre-industrialized society. – Escapism/attempt to free self from corruption of sophistication of modern world. • Paintings convey immediacy and authenticity of the imagination. Paul Gauguin, Vision after the Sermon, or Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, 1888. Oil on canvas, 28 ¾” x 36 ¼”. National Gallery of Scotland.
  37. 37. Schools of Modern Art Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) • Like many PostImpressionists, he rejects industrialized society • Leaves Paris to search for more meaningful existence in preindustrialized cultures like Brittany and Tahiti • Search is also for purer art, more authentic and direct • Found inspiration in cloisonné of stained glass wondows • Abandons wife and 5 children eventually moving to Tahiti • Tahitian works show the promise of a land that no longer existed, but appealed to his Parisian clients Paul Gauguin, Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?, 1897-1898. Oil on canvas, 55” x 148.” Museum of FIne Arts, Boston. Fig. 25.4
  38. 38. Schools of Modern Art Edvard Munch (1863-1944) • Norwegian Symbolism • Influenced by Gauguin’s patterns and sinuous line and van Gogh's bold brushwork • Explores the psychological effects of modernism • Elements of expressionism (any art that stresses the artist's emotional and psychological expression, often with bold colors and distortions of form) Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893. Oil and tempera on board 35 ¾ x 29”. The National Gallery, Oslo Norway.
  39. 39. Schools of Modern Art Edvard Munch (1863-1944) • Art becomes a tool for artists to communicate the growing angst of a generation • Possibly inspired by Krakatoa, 1883 • Writing about the inspiration for The Scream Munch pens: I went along the road with two friends— The sun set Suddenly the sky became blood—and I felt the breath of sadness I stopped—leaned against the fence— deathly tired Clouds over the fjord dripped reeking with blood My friends went on but I just stood trembling with an open wound in my breast I heard a huge extraordinary scream pass through nature Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893. Oil and tempera on board 35 ¾ x 29”. The National Gallery, Oslo Norway. Fig. 25.8.
  40. 40. Schools of Modern Art Henri de ToulouseLautrec (1864-1901) • Post-Impressionists, unlike the Impressionists, were not afraid to paint the seedy side of modern life. Self-portrait of the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, At the Moulin Rouge, 1892. Oil on canvas, 48.5” x 55.5”. The Art Institute of Chicago.
  41. 41. Schools of Modern Art Post-Impressionism • Along with Gauguin and van Gogh, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) is considered an important link between the 19th century avant-garde and early 20th century greats including Edvard Munch, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso. • His prints won him great fame in the 1890s making his work synonymous with turn-ofthe-century Paris. • Lautrec captured the dirtier side of Paris; its nighttime activities and lives of the lessthan-savory characters of the night. Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Moulin Rouge-La Goulue, 1891. Color • His posters elevated graphic design within lithograph, 6’ 3 ¼” x 4’. Victoria the fine arts. and Albert Museum, London.

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