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

Akin to the naturalist landscape painters were the realists, most prominently Gustave Courbet. Courbet and his followers preferred rural, agrarian subjects that typically conveyed a moral, political, or social message. Courbet developed these themes on a monumental scale. Honoré Daumier made his reputation with satirical political cartoons that were regularly published in Parisian journals. He then turned to lithography and finally to painting. His scenes of urban life have a simplified, fluid, and linear quality engendered by his experience as a printmaker. They often verge on the caricatural in their depiction of the different classes of society, ridiculing the newly prosperous bourgeoisie or presenting people from the lowest fringes of society with sympathy. Jean-François Millet, a leading master of the Barbizon school, also painted scenes of rural life that embody sympathy for the impoverished peasantry and the virtues of the simple rural life. In addition to landscapes, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot is also important for his figure studies -- portraits of family and friends early in his career and, later, depictions of models in various settings and costumes. Never political in motivation, Corot's art is more often purely aesthetic. The influence of the work of the naturalist, Barbizon, and realist artists on younger, progressive artists in Paris in the 1860s gave impetus to the development of impressionism.

Edgar Degas  
Horses in a Meadow