National Gallery of Art - EXHIBITIONS

The Impressionists at Argenteuil


Exhibition Brochure | Brochure Images | Related Information
Introduction | Impressionism | Group Exhibitions | The Paris Suburbs | Impressions of Nature
Impressionist Techniques | Landscapes of Modernity | Leisure | Group Dynamics

Impressionism
Fig 2a0During the late 1860s and 1870s the impressionists developed a style of painting that departed radically from existing traditions of European art. Rejecting the notion that high art should represent elevated subjects from mythology, history, or religious sources, these avant-garde artists turned their attention to the people, sites, and scenes of their own age. One contemporary critic wrote: "To paint what they see, to reproduce nature without interpreting it and without arranging it, seems to be the goal of these artists." The impressionists wished to capture momentary effects, such as the flux and movement of modern life or the fleeting properties of light on forms in nature, and they devised new techniques of painting to achieve this aim. Their broken brushwork, irregular surfaces, heightened color, and sense of spontaneity gave physical expression to their perceptions of a particular time and place. Contemporaries regarded the paintings as crude and sketchy, and at the first public exhibition of these works, the artists were disparagingly called mere "impressionists" by the conservative art critic Louis Leroy.

Introduction | Impressionism | Group Exhibitions | The Paris Suburbs | Impressions of Nature
Impressionist Techniques | Landscapes of Modernity | Leisure | Group Dynamics