Monday, July 28, 2008

French Maritime Artist

These artists thought that if their work was exhibited fairly, it would gain acceptance. They sought favorable viewing conditions such as good lighting and ample space between paintings, and they also wanted to exhibit more works than the two allowed by Salon rules. In 1874, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Degas, Morisot, and Sisley led a number of friends to form an association and publicly presented the first group exhibition independent of the official Salon. They called themselves "Artists, Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers, etc., Inc." to avoid descriptive titles and pejorative epithets. Critics noted their unorthodox style and especially a work exhibited by Monet with the title Impression, Sunrise (Musée Marmottan, Paris) and sarcastically dubbed them "impressionists." The group, which presented eight exhibitions in all, survived until 1886. By then the core impressionists were beginning to attain a degree of popular success. The exhibition strategy that had been essential to their enterprise was no longer necessary, and the group disbanded.

The audacious impressionist venture had overturned contemporary artistic institutions and freed artists to explore new forms of expression. A variety of styles arose as the impressionist movement concluded. Postimpressionism, usually associated with Seurat, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh, was neither a style nor a movement; rather, postimpressionism was differentiated by the largely symbolic and imaginary sources of inspiration that supplanted the naturalist and realist impulses that had shaped impressionism.

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