Celebrations of city streets, tranquil vistas of the countryside and seashore, enchanting images of the leisured classes in domestic interiors or at fashionable Parisian cafes - the work of the Impressionists gives pleasure to art lovers everywhere. But while Impressionism today may appear natural and effortless, contemporaries were shocked by the loose handling of paint and the practice of painting out-of-doors. In defiance of the conservative official Salon, the Impressionists, led by Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas, sought to capture the immediacy of experience. This fascinating, comprehensive study brings together the most recent research on Impressionism. James Rubin makes accessible its philosophical, political and social context. As well as the acknowledged masters, our attention is drawn to lesser known but important Impressionists such as Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt and Gustave Caillebotte.
Introduction - a spectacle of modern pleasures; the names of impressionism - modernity and form; the artist as subject - the Paris of Edouard Manet; naturalism in Plein-Air; Claude Monet's landscapes of leisure; places, people and traditions - Bazille, Pissarro and Renoir; choreography and science - performances by Edgar Degas; feminine and masculine - Morisot, Cassatt and Caillebotte; opposition or complicity? Impressionism and political power; reassessment and renewal - the neo-impressionist critique; mseries and originals - commerce and creativity; towards an aftermath - Paul Cezanne's modernism; other media, other places - legacies of impressionism.