Permanent Collection Installations
Realism Barbizon Early Impressionism Later Impressionism Alternatives to Impressionism Postimpressionism

When Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Frédéric Bazille were students together in Charles Gleyre's studio in the early 1860s, the younger artists admired avant-garde masters including naturalist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, realist Gustave Courbet, the Barbizon artists, and particularly Edouard Manet. The dispassionate modernity of Manet's subjects, scenes of contemporary urban life, influenced the younger generation, as did his method of painting. He eschewed the smooth finish prescribed by traditional teaching and placed clearly visible brushmarks side by side as in a sketch, a technique that enhanced the immediacy of his pictures.

Eugééne Boudin specialized in small-scale oils depicting contemporary vacationers at the beaches of Normandy. Boudin made excursions along the coast to sketch the appearance of the sky and sea in open air, a practice he recommended to Claude Monet when the two met early in the 1860s. Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Bazille, Camille Pissarro, and Paul Cézanne painted outdoors in pairs and groups, experimenting with techniques and colors to capture their fleeting visual impressions of real people in natural daylight. Monet and Renoir were painting together in the summer of 1869 at a small Seine-side resort called La Grenouillére, when they first worked in the free style recognizable as impressionism. They applied their paints unblended on the canvas using a variety of brushstrokes -- brief dashes, loops, broad strokes, color laid by color in bold combinations -- an organic and spontaneous style that perfectly suited subjects of the impressionists.

Camille Pissarro  
Orchard in Bloom, Louveciennes