Post-Impressionism (also spelled Postimpressionism) was a predominantly French art movement that developed roughly between 1886 and 1905, from the last Impressionist exhibition to the birth of Fauvism. Post-Impressionism emerged as a reaction against Impressionists' concern for the naturalistic depiction of light and colour. Its broad emphasis on abstract qualities or symbolic content means Post-Impressionism encompasses Les Nabis, Neo-Impressionism, Symbolism, Cloisonnism, the Pont-Aven School, and Synthetism, along with some later Impressionists' work. The movement's principal artists were Paul Cézanne (known as the father of Post-Impressionism), Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and Georges Seurat.
The term Post-Impressionism was first used by art critic Roger Fry in 1906.Critic Frank Rutter in a review of the Salon d'Automne published in Art News, 15 October 1910, described Othon Friesz as a "post-impressionist leader"; there was also an advert for the show The Post-Impressionists of France. Three weeks later, Roger Fry used the term again when he organised the 1910 exhibition Manet and the Post-Impressionists, defining it as the development of French art since Manet.
Post-Impressionists extended Impressionism while rejecting its limitations: they continued using vivid colours, sometimes using impasto (thick application of paint) and painting from life, but were more inclined to emphasize geometric forms, distort form for expressive effect, and use unnatural or modified colour.
The Post-Impressionists were dissatisfied with what they felt was the triviality of subject matter and the loss of structure in Impressionist paintings, though they did not agree on the way forward. Georges Seurat and his followers concerned themselves with pointillism, the systematic use of tiny dots of colour. Paul Cézanne set out to restore a sense of order and structure to painting, to "make of Impressionism something solid and durable, like the art of the museums".He achieved this by reducing objects to their basic shapes while retaining the saturated colours of Impressionism. The Impressionist Camille Pissarro experimented with Neo-Impressionist ideas between the mid-1880s and the early 1890s. Discontented with what he referred to as romantic Impressionism, he investigated pointillism, which he called scientific Impressionism, before returning to a purer Impressionism in the last decade of his life. Vincent van Gogh often used vibrant colour and conspicuous brushstrokes to convey his feelings and his state of mind.
Although they often exhibited together, Post-Impressionist artists were not in agreement concerning a cohesive movement. Yet, the abstract concerns of harmony and structural arrangement, in the work of all these artists, took precedence over naturalism. Artists such as Seurat adopted a meticulously scientific approach to colour and composition.
The term was used in 1906,and again in 1910 by Roger Fry in the title of an exhibition of modern French painters: Manet and the Post-Impressionists, organized by Fry for the Grafton Galleries in London. Three weeks before Fry's show, art critic Frank Rutter had put the term Post-Impressionist in print in Art News of 15 October 1910, during a review of the Salon d'Automne, where he described Othon Friesz as a "post-impressionist leader"; there was also an advert in the journal for the show The Post-Impressionists of France.
Most of the artists in Fry's exhibition were younger than the Impressionists. Fry later explained: "For purposes of convenience, it was necessary to give these artists a name, and I chose, as being the vaguest and most non-committal, the name of Post-Impressionism. This merely stated their position in time relatively to the Impressionist movement."John Rewald limited the scope to the years between 1886 and 1892 in his pioneering publication on Post-Impressionism: From Van Gogh to Gauguin (1956). Rewald considered this a continuation of his 1946 study, History of Impressionism, and pointed out that a "subsequent volume dedicated to the second half of the post-impressionist period": Post-Impressionism: From Gauguin to Matisse, was to follow. This volume would extend the period covered to other artistic movements derived from Impressionism, though confined to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Rewald focused on such outstanding early Post-Impressionists active in France as van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, and Redon. He explored their relationships as well as the artistic circles they frequented (or were in opposition to), including:
Furthermore, in his introduction to Post-Impressionism, Rewald opted for a second volume featuring Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Rousseau "le Douanier", Les Nabis and Cézanne as well as the Fauves, the young Picasso and Gauguin's last trip to the South Seas; it was to expand the period covered at least into the first decade of the 20th century—yet this second volume remained unfinished.
Rewald wrote that "the term 'Post-Impressionism' is not a very precise one, though a very convenient one"; convenient, when the term is by definition limited to French visual arts derived from Impressionism since 1886. Rewald's approach to historical data was narrative rather than analytic, and beyond this point he believed it would be sufficient to "let the sources speak for themselves."
Rival terms like Modernism or Symbolism were never as easy to handle, for they covered literature, architecture and other arts as well, and they expanded to other countries.
To meet the recent discussion, the connotations of the term 'Post-Impressionism' were challenged again: Alan Bowness and his collaborators expanded the period covered forward to 1914 and the beginning of World War I, but limited their approach widely on the 1890s to France. Other European countries are pushed back to standard connotations, and Eastern Europe is completely excluded.
So, while a split may be seen between classical 'Impressionism' and 'Post-Impressionism' in 1886, the end and the extent of 'Post-Impressionism' remains under discussion. For Bowness and his contributors as well as for Rewald, 'Cubism' was an absolutely fresh start, and so Cubism has been seen in France since the beginning, and later in England. Meanwhile, Eastern European artists, however, did not care so much for western traditions, and proceeded to manners of painting called abstract and suprematic—terms expanding far into the 20th century.
According to the present state of discussion, Post-Impressionism is a term best used within Rewald's definition in a strictly historical manner, concentrating on French art between 1886 and 1914, and re-considering the altered positions of impressionist painters like Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, and others—as well as all new schools and movements at the turn of the century: from Cloisonnism to Cubism. The declarations of war, in July/August 1914, indicate probably far more than the beginning of a World War—they signal a major break in European cultural history, too.
Along with general art history information given about "Post-Impressionism" works, there are many museums that offer additional history, information and gallery works, both online and in house, that can help viewers understand a deeper meaning of "Post-Impressionism" in terms of fine art and traditional art applications.
The Advent of Modernism: Post-impressionism and North American Art, 1900-1918 by Peter Morrin, Judith Zilczer, and William C. Agee, the catalogue for an exhibition at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta in 1986, gave a major overview of Post-Impressionism in North America.
Canadian Post-Impressionism is an offshoot of Post-Impressionism.In 1913, the Art Association of Montreal's Spring show included the work of Randolph Hewton, A. Y. Jackson and John Lyman: it was reviewed with sharp criticism by the Montreal Daily Witness and the Montreal Daily Star. Post-Impressionism was extended to include a painting by Lyman, who had studied with Matisse. Lyman wrote in defense of the term and defined it. He referred to the British show which he described as a great exhibition of modern art.
A wide and diverse variety of artists are called by this name in Canada, among them are James Wilson Morrice,John Lyman, David Milne, and Tom Thomson, members of the Group of Seven, and Emily Carr. In 2001, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa organized the traveling exhibition The Birth of the Modern: Post-Impressionism in Canada, 1900-1920.
Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement characterized by relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities, ordinary subject matter, unusual visual angles, and inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience. Impressionism originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s.
Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne is said to have formed the bridge between late 19th-century Impressionism and the early 20th century's new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism.
Georges Pierre Seurat was a French post-Impressionist artist. He devised the painting techniques known as chromoluminarism and pointillism and used conté crayon for drawings on paper with a rough surface.
Roger Eliot Fry was an English painter and critic, and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Establishing his reputation as a scholar of the Old Masters, he became an advocate of more recent developments in French painting, to which he gave the name Post-Impressionism. He was the first figure to raise public awareness of modern art in Britain, and emphasised the formal properties of paintings over the "associated ideas" conjured in the viewer by their representational content. He was described by the art historian Kenneth Clark as "incomparably the greatest influence on taste since Ruskin ...In so far as taste can be changed by one man, it was changed by Roger Fry". The taste Fry influenced was primarily that of the Anglophone world, and his success lay largely in alerting an educated public to a compelling version of recent artistic developments of the Parisian avant-garde.
Synthetism is a term used by post-Impressionist artists like Paul Gauguin, Émile Bernard and Louis Anquetin to distinguish their work from Impressionism. Earlier, Synthetism has been connected to the term Cloisonnism, and later to Symbolism. The term is derived from the French verb synthétiser.
Neo-Impressionism is a term coined by French art critic Félix Fénéon in 1886 to describe an art movement founded by Georges Seurat. Seurat's most renowned masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, marked the beginning of this movement when it first made its appearance at an exhibition of the Société des Artistes Indépendants in Paris. Around this time, the peak of France's modern era emerged and many painters were in search of new methods. Followers of Neo-Impressionism, in particular, were drawn to modern urban scenes as well as landscapes and seashores. Science-based interpretation of lines and colors influenced Neo-Impressionists' characterization of their own contemporary art. The Pointillist and Divisionist techniques are often mentioned in this context, because they were the dominant techniques in the beginning of the Neo-impressionist movement.
Émile Henri Bernard was a French Post-Impressionist painter and writer, who had artistic friendships with Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and Eugène Boch, and at a later time, Paul Cézanne. Most of his notable work was accomplished at a young age, in the years 1886 through 1897. He is also associated with Cloisonnism and Synthetism, two late 19th-century art movements. Less known is Bernard's literary work, comprising plays, poetry, and art criticism as well as art historical statements that contain first-hand information on the crucial period of modern art to which Bernard had contributed.
Cloisonnism is a style of post-Impressionist painting with bold and flat forms separated by dark contours. The term was coined by critic Édouard Dujardin on the occasion of the Salon des Indépendants, in March 1888. Artists Émile Bernard, Louis Anquetin, Paul Gauguin, Paul Sérusier, and others started painting in this style in the late 19th century. The name evokes the technique of cloisonné, where wires are soldered to the body of the piece, filled with powdered glass, and then fired. Many of the same painters also described their works as Synthetism, a closely related movement.
Armand Guillaumin was a French impressionist painter and lithographer.
The Courtauld Gallery is an art museum in Somerset House, on the Strand in central London. It houses the collection of the Courtauld Institute of Art, a self-governing college of the University of London specialising in the study of the history of art.
John Rewald was an American academic, author and art historian. He was known as a scholar of Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Cézanne, Renoir, Pissarro, Seurat, and other French painters of the late 19th century. He was recognized as a foremost authority on late 19th-century art. His History of Impressionism is a standard work.
The fame of Vincent van Gogh began to spread in France and Belgium during the last year of his life, and in the years after his death in the Netherlands and Germany. His friendship with his younger brother Theo was documented in numerous letters they exchanged from August 1872 onwards. The letters were published in three volumes in 1914 by Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, Theo's widow, who also generously supported most of the early Van Gogh exhibitions with loans from the artist's estate. Publication of the letters helped spread the compelling mystique of Vincent van Gogh, the intense and dedicated painter who died young, throughout Europe and the rest of the world.
The Volpini Exhibition was an exhibition of paintings arranged by Paul Gauguin and his circle held at the Café des Arts on the Champ de Mars, not far from the official art pavilion of the 1889 Exposition universelle in Paris. A poster and an illustrated catalogue were printed, but the show of "Paintings by the Impressionist and Synthetist Group", held in June and early July 1889, was ignored by the press and proved to be a failure.
The Stafford Gallery was an early 20th-century art gallery in London. Artists whose works were exhibited there include both internationally known painters such as Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne and Gustave Courbet and significant English figures such as Walter Sickert and Sir William Nicholson.
Fauvism /ˈfoʊvɪzm̩/ is the style of les Fauves, a group of early 20th-century modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong color over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism. While Fauvism as a style began around 1904 and continued beyond 1910, the movement as such lasted only a few years, 1905–1908, and had three exhibitions. The leaders of the movement were André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, and Henri Matisse.
Still life paintings by Vincent van Gogh (Paris) is the subject of many drawings, sketches and paintings by Vincent van Gogh in 1886 and 1887 after he moved to Montmartre in Paris from the Netherlands. While in Paris, Van Gogh transformed the subjects, color and techniques that he used in creating still life paintings.
Proto-Cubism is an intermediary transition phase in the history of art chronologically extending from 1906 to 1910. Evidence suggests that the production of proto-Cubist paintings resulted from a wide-ranging series of experiments, circumstances, influences and conditions, rather than from one isolated static event, trajectory, artist or discourse. With its roots stemming from at least the late 19th century this period can be characterized by a move towards the radical geometrization of form and a reduction or limitation of the color palette. It is essentially the first experimental and exploratory phase of an art movement that would become altogether more extreme, known from the spring of 1911 as Cubism.
Henry Pearlman (1895–1974) was a Brooklyn-born, self-made businessman, and collector of impressionist and post-impressionist art. Over three postwar decades, he assembled a "deeply personal" and much revered collection centered on thirty-three works by Paul Cézanne and more than forty by Vincent van Gogh, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaïm Soutine, Paul Gauguin, Édouard Manet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and a dozen other European modernists.
Le Chahut is a Neo-Impressionist painting by Georges Seurat, dated 1889–90. It was first exhibited at the 1890 Salon de la Société des Artistes Indépendants in Paris. Chahut became a target of art critics, and was widely discussed among Symbolist critics.
Parade de cirque is an 1887-88 Neo-Impressionist painting by Georges Seurat. It was first exhibited at the 1888 Salon de la Société des Artistes Indépendants in Paris, where it became one of Seurat's least admired works. Parade de cirque represents the sideshow of the Circus Corvi at place de la Nation, and was his first depiction of a nocturnal scene, and first painting of popular entertainment. Seurat worked on the theme for nearly six years before completing the final painting.