Movements in Late Nineteenth Century Art (Art 100)

Realism

Name: Term used to describe a certain type of art and literature in mid-19th century France.
Who: Gustave Courbet, Édouard Manet, Rosa Bonheur, Gustave Caillebotte, Honoré Daumier, Thomas Eakins, and Winslow Homer.
When: 1845-1880.
Where: Western Europe (primarily France) and the United States.
What: Movement in art and literature that rejected the subjective, emotional, exotic characteristics of Romanticism. Instead, artists and writers concentrated on observable, contemporary reality.
Subject Matter: Down-to-earth, everyday subjects: landscapes; peasants; ordinary, working-class people; observable, contemporary life. Only the visible world is shown; scenes centering on mythology, history or religion were avoided.
Style: Emphasis on naturalism, that is, the accurate depiction of nature without it being overly romanticized or sentimentalized. Ordinary people shown with same dignity previously bestowed on images of kings, saints and aristocrats. In a sense, Realist painters tried to do away with a personal, artistic "style" in order to make their paintings more "truthful."
Janson and Kissick Example: COURBET, The Stone Breakers, 1849.
Influenced by: Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Velázquez, Zurburan, Louis Le Nain, Charles Baudelaire (a 19th century writer who called for an art that would use the "heroism of modern life" as its subject), European revolutions of 1848, Socialism, and early photography.
Will influence: Pre-Raphaelites, Impressionism, and American Scene Painting.
 

Impressionism

Name: The derogatory term was coined by critic Louis Leroy of the Parisian journal Le Charivari in response to the unfinished quality of Monet's Impression: Sunrise of 1872 (exhibited at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874). For Leroy, the work appeared more like an "impression" rather than a finished, factual painting. The artists came to like this term and adopt it for themselves.
Who: Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Édouard Manet (who never exhibited with the Impressionists), Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Rodin, and Alfred Sisley.
When: 1874-1886 (8 group exhibitions are held between these dates).
Where: France.
What: The Impressionists, who initially exhibited as the "Society of Painters, Etchers and Engravers," formed in opposition to the government-sponsored Salon. Artists were concerned with the transient effects of light and atmosphere on natural or man-made objects. The fragmented, painterly brushwork of Impressionism makes it a forerunner of the modern notion that a painting is an art object not subject to the constraints of nature. The group's aims were best represented by painters, though some sculptors (Rodin, Degas, Renoir) did manage to employ their concerns with light and reflection onto media other than paint and canvas. Toward the end, many of the Impressionists pursued separate paths with respect to subject matter and style. Impressionism's "joy of life" attitude makes it one of the most loved and popular movements in modern art.
Subject Matter: Contemporary life: sunny landscapes (painted out-of-doors rather than in a studio), cityscapes, portraits, and leisure scenes (dance halls, opera, ballet, bars, picnics, etc.).
Style: Bright colors (in contrast to dark, muted tones of Academic paintings) applied in visible, sketchy strokes. These strokes were meant to merge in the viewer's eyes, not the artist's palette. Shadows were painted with color, not black as before. Glazes and heavy varnishes were hardly ever used.
Janson Example: RENOIR, Le Moulin de la Galette, 1876.
Kissick Example: MONET, Impression: Sunrise, 1872.
Influenced by: Delacroix, Barbizon School, Manet, Realism, photography, and Japanese prints.
Will influence: Post-Impressionists, Fauves, and to some extent most other late 19th century and early 20th century movements.
 

Post-Impressionism

Name: Term, which refers to the period after Impressionism, was coined by the British art critic Roger Fry for his 1910 London exhibition "Manet and the Post-Impressionists." The term was invented after nearly all its practitioners had died.
Who: Paul Cézanne, Georges Seurat, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Gauguin.
When: 1880s through early 1890s.
Where: France.
What: Post-Impressionists weren't reacting against Impressionism, they were trying to take the ideas of Impressionism further. They also were not interested in the Impressionist's preoccupation with naturalism and momentary effects. Still, nearly all the Post-Impressionists passed through an Impressionist phase.
Subject Matter Landscapes, portraits, still lifes, exotic locations, interiors, etc.
Style: Since Post-Impressionism refers to a time (the period after Impressionism) and not a style, there are many styles occurring simultaneously. The styles of Post-Impressionists reflected the individual artists' personal emotions and world views, rather than a naturalistic approach to painting.
Janson Example: VAN GOGH, Wheat Field and Cypress Trees, 1889.
Kissick Example: GAUGUIN, The Vision After the Sermon, 1888.
Influenced by: Impressionism.
Will influence: Symbolism, Nabis, Art Nouveau, Fauvism, Cubism, and German Expressionism.
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