The Story of French Impressionism, Part X: Paul Gauguin

Paul Gaugin (1848-1903) (pronounced "go-gan") was born during a tumultuous political epoch of revolutionary upheaval throughout Europe. His mother descended from both Spanish aristocracy, as well as socialist revolutionaries, while Gauguin's father ran a Socialist newspaper that was suppressed forcing the young family to flee Paris. Young Paul idolized his grandmother on his mother's side, … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part X: Paul Gauguin

The Story of French Impressionism, Part IX: Gustave Caillebotte

Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894) -pronounced "kye-bott"- was descended from a wealthy military textile family in Paris. His family owned a home in Paris and later bought a larger home south of Paris, as well. Photograph of Caillebotte circa 1878 Caillebotte studied law, and he was also drafted to serve in the armed forces during the Franco-Prussian War … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part IX: Gustave Caillebotte

The Story of French Impressionism, Part VIII: Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) is sometimes categorized as a "Post-Impressionist" painter by latter-day more sophisticated scholars of art history. In the same way that Manet is sometimes viewed as a bridge between "realism" and "modernism," Cézanne is sometimes viewed as abridge between late Impressionism and other modernist movements, like Cubism. Both Matisse and Picasso are said to … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part VIII: Paul Cézanne

The Story of French Impressionism, Part VII: Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas (1834-1917) (pronounced "day-dahs" but in later life he changed the pronunciation to "day-gah") never wished to be called an "Impressionist" instead preferring to be called a "Realist." In his paintings he was obsessed with motion, particularly of dancers, which occupied nearly half of his works. Degas was raised in an upper middles-class family. … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part VII: Edgar Degas

The Story of French Impressionism, Part VI: Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt

Berthe Morisot (1841-1895) was one of the key female figures of French Impressionism. Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets (1872) By: Édouard Manet - she often posed for Manet, this time in mourning for the death of her father. Like the other artists of the time, she began her career vying for a spot at … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part VI: Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt

The Story of French Impressionism, Part V: Camille Pissarro

Like Manet, Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) was an "elder statesman" of sorts for the young Impressionist movement, as well as for the future "Post-Impressionist" movement. He was born Jacob Abraham Camille Pissarro in 1830 on the island of St. Thomas (a former Dutch colony, part of the "Danish West Indies") to Portuguese-Jewish parents, with French nationality. … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part V: Camille Pissarro

The Story of French Impressionism, Part IV: Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille

Alfred Sisley (1839-1899) was born into a wealthy English family in Paris. His father ran a successful silk trade, which afforded him an upper middle-class lifestyle, unlike his penniless contemporaries, Monet and Renoir. As a young man, Sisley went to study business in London, but he left after four years to return to Paris to study art. … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part IV: Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille

The Story of French Impressionism, Part III: Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) was born into a lower middle-class family in France. His father was a tailor and his mother worked as a seamstress. At a young age he wanted to be a singer, however due to his family's financial concerns, he went to work in a porcelain factory until a new mechanized procedure was … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part III: Pierre-Auguste Renoir

The Story of French Impressionism, Part II: Claude Monet

A part of the narrative of French Impressionism relies on the exclusiveness of the 18th century Parisian elite - the Académie des Beaux-Arts – the hub of French art culture. The Académie hosted an annual art show, the “Salon de Paris”, which typically showcased preferred political, historical, religious, and mythological works. Winners of these art … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part II: Claude Monet

The Story of French Impressionism, Part I: Édouard Manet

In contrast to the bold, triumphant, and defined political works of earlier European painters, like Eugene Delacroix for example, the Impressionists were a more muted, subtle group of less defined painters, at least conventional wisdom instructs us so. The Impressionists give us only a glimpse of something, a passing blurred picture of motion; like a … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part I: Édouard Manet