1.5.1.2 Impressionism II (1874-1897)

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QUICK LINKS:
Dance Class, Degas
Foggy Morning Voisons, Sisley
L’Absinthe, Degas
The Floor Scrapers, Caillebotte
Young Man at his Window, Caillebotte
Dance at the Moulin de la Galette, Renoir
The Swing, Renoir
Path through tall grass, Renoir
Paris Street in Rainy Weather, Caillebotte
The Red Roofs, Pissarro
Vegetable Garden, Pissarro
Walking Man, Rodin
Gare Saint-Lazare, Monet
Prima Ballerina, Degas
Snow at Louveciennes, Sisley
Road Menders, rue de Berne. Manet

Little Dancer, Degas
Nature morte: les grosses pommes, Cézanne
Bridge at Maincy, Cézanne
Portraits at the Bourse, Degas
Dinner at the Ball, Degas
The Thinker, Rodin
Luncheon of the Boating Party, Renoir
Women Ironing, Degas
Bathers at Asnières, Seurat
Burghers of Calais, Rodin
Woman combing her hair, Degas
The Kiss, Rodin
Boy in the Red Vest, Cézanne
Man smoking a pipe, Cézanne
Woman with a coffee pot, Cézanne

[1512-40]


Image source: metmuseum.org
This work and its variant in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, represent the most ambitious paintings Degas devoted to the theme of the dance. Some twenty-four women, ballerinas and their mothers, wait while a dancer executes an ‘attitude’ for her examination. Jules Perrot, a famous ballet master, conducts the class.

The imaginary scene is set in a rehearsal room in the old Paris Opéra, which had recently burned to the ground. On the wall beside the mirror, a poster for Rossini’s Guillaume Tell pays tribute to the singer Jean-Baptiste Faure, who commissioned the picture and lent it to the 1876 Impressionist exhibition.
[Source: metmuseum.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Dance Class1874Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Degas, Edgar 1834-1917, aged 83French painter ParisImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-41]

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY USA84 x 72  
British by nationality, although he was born in Paris and spent almost all his life in France, Alfred Sisley settled at Voisins, a village near Louveciennes in Seine-et-Oise, in 1871. That is probably where he painted this fog effect with a hint of a fence in the background, foliage on the left, a tree with twisted branches on the right beneath which a crouching woman seems to be picking flowers.

But more than a peasant woman in her garden, the protagonist of the painting is the silvery mist which blurs the shapes and the background into a bluish grey tone. It is not the thick London fog that Sisley and Monet knew on the banks of the Thames, but a subtle harmony, a silent poem.

This canvas is an illustration of the Impressionist approach which sifts nature through the filter of visual sensation, here modified by the weather. Moreover, Fog, Voisins was painted in 1874, the year of the first Impressionist exhibition in Nadar’s studio, to which Sisley contributed five paintings.
[Source: musee-orsay.fr]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Foggy Morning, Voisons1874Oil/CanvasLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Sisley, Alfred1839-1899, aged 59French painterImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-42]

Musée d’Orsay,  Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France51 x 65  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Unlike his Impressionist friends, Degas was an essentially urban painter, who liked to paint the enclosed spaces of stage shows, leisure activities and pleasure spots.

In a cafe, a fashionable meeting place, a man and a woman, although sitting side-by-side, are locked in silent isolation, their eyes empty and sad, with drooping features and a general air of desolation.

The painting can be seen as a denunciation of the dangers of absinthe, a violent, harmful liquor which was later prohibited.

The realistic dimension is flagrant: the cafe has been identified – it is “La Nouvelle Athènes”, in place Pigalle, a meeting place for modern artists and a hotbed of intellectual bohemians.

The framing gives the impression of a snapshot taken by an onlooker at a nearby table. But this impression is deceptive because, in fact, the real life effect is carefully contrived. The picture was painted in the studio and not in the cafe.

Degas asked people he knew to pose for the figures: Ellen André was an actress, and an artist’s model; Marcellin Desboutin was an engraver and artist. The painting cast a slur on their reputations and Degas had to state publicly that they were not alcoholics.

The off-centre framing, introducing empty spaces and slicing off the man’s pipe and hand, was inspired by Japanese prints, but Degas uses it here to produce a drunken slewing. The presence of the shadow of the two figures painted as a silhouette reflected in the long mirror behind them is also expressive and significant.
[Source: musee-orsay.fr]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Absinthe, L’1875-6Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Degas, Edgar1834-1917, aged 83French painter ParisImpressionsim
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-43]

Musée d’Orsay, Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France92 x 68  

Image source: Wikimedia commons

This painting is one of the first representations of urban proletariat. Whereas peasants (Gleaners by Millet) or country workers (Stone Breakers by Courbet) had often been shown, city workers had seldom been painted.

Unlike Courbet or Millet, Caillebotte does not incorporate any social, moralising or political message in his work. His thorough documentary study (gestures, tools, accessories) justifies his position among the most accomplished realists.

Caillebotte presented his painting at the 1875 Salon. The Jury, no doubt shocked by its crude realism, rejected it (some critics talked of ‘vulgar subject matter’). The young painter then decided to join the Impressionists and presented his painting at the second exhibition of the group in 1876, where Degas exhibited his first Ironers.

Critics were struck by this great modern tableau, Zola, in particular, although he condemned this painting that is so accurate that it makes it bourgeois.
[Source: musee-orsay.fr]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Floor Scrapers, The1875Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Caillebotte, Gustave1848-1894French painter ParisImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-44]

Musée d’Orsay,  Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France102 x 147  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Gustave Caillebotte completed Jeune homme a sa Fenetre (Young Man at his Window) in 1875 and it provides an excellent example of his frequent use of different elements of the city of Paris within his work.

Gustave Caillebotte frequently portrayed the lives of the upper classes as well as those lower down the pecking order. The former would normally be found enjoying Paris at a leisurely pace (Paris Street, Rainy Day), whilst the poor would tend to be hard at work (The Floor Scrapers). In the painting found here he provides a personal, intimate scene of domestic relaxation as a young man looks out over the beautiful architecture of central Paris.
[Source: gustavecaillebotte.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Young Man at his Window1875Oil/CanvasLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Caillebotte, Gustave1848-1894French painter ParisImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-45]

Private collection117 x 82  
This painting is doubtless Renoir’s most important work of the mid 1870’s and was shown at the Impressionist exhibition in 1877.

Though some of his friends appear in the picture, Renoir’s main aim was to convey the vivacious and joyful atmosphere of this popular dance garden on the Butte Montmartre. The study of the moving crowd, bathed in natural and artificial light, is handled using vibrant, brightly coloured brushstrokes. The somewhat blurred impression of the scene prompted negative reactions from contemporary critics.

This portrayal of popular Parisian life, with its innovative style and imposing format, a sign of Renoir’s artistic ambition, is one of the masterpieces of early Impressionism.
[Source: artsandculture.google.com]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Dance At The Moulin De La Galette (Bal du Moulin de la Galette)1876Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Renoir, Pierre-Auguste 1841-1919, aged 78French painterImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-46]

Musée d’Orsay, Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France131 x 175  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
A young man seen from the back is talking to a young woman standing on a swing, watched by a little girl and another man, leaning against the trunk of a tree.

Renoir gives us the impression of surprising a conversation – as if in a snapshot, he catches the glances turned towards the man seen from the back. The young woman is looking away as if she were embarrassed. The foursome in the foreground is balanced by the group of five figures sketchily brushed in the background.

The Swing has many points in common with The Ball at the Moulin de la Galette. The two pictures were painted in parallel in the summer of 1876.

The models in The Swing, Edmond, Auguste Renoir’s brother, the painter Norbert Goeneutte and Jeanne, a young woman from Montmartre, figure among the dancers in The Ball. The same carefree atmosphere infuses both pictures. As in The Ball, Renoir is particularly trying to catch the effects of sunlight dappled by the foliage. The quivering light is rendered by the patches of pale colour, particularly on the clothing and the ground. This particularly annoyed the critics when the painting was shown at the Impressionist exhibition of 1877. The Swing nonetheless found a buyer – Gustave Caillebotte, who also bought The Ball at the Moulin de la Galette.
[Source: musee-orsay.fr]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
The Swing (La Balancoire)1876Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Renoir, Pierre-Auguste 1841-1919, aged 78French painterImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-47]

Musée d’Orsay,  Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France92 x 73  
Renoir never ceased painting nature. He began in the forest of Fontainebleau and ended on the Cote d’Azur, after having worked in the suburbs of Paris, at Venice, Naples and in Algeria. Strangely, among his contemporaries, he was considered a portraitist.

The chronology of Renoir’s landscapes is not always easy to determine. Path Leading Through Tall Grass, which must have been painted in the suburbs of Paris, belongs to his early period. It was certainly painted before 1880. There is often a human element in Renoir’s landscapes. There is in this one. Women and children are out walking on the path winding through the long grass.
[Source: visual-arts-cork.com]

Image source: art-renoir.com
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Path Leading through Tall Grass1877Oil/CanvasLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Renoir, Pierre-Auguste 1841-1919, aged 78French painterImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-48]

Musée d’Orsay,  Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France60 x 74  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Paris Street; Rainy Day is Caillebotte’smbest known work. It shows a number of individuals walking through the Place de Dublin, then known as the Carrefour de Moscou, at an intersection to the east of the Gare Saint-Lazare in north Paris. Although Caillebotte was a friend and patron of many of the impressionist painters, and this work is part of that school, it differs in its realism and reliance on line rather than broad brush strokes.

Caillebotte’s interest in photography is evident. The figures in the foreground appear ‘out of focus’, those in the mid-distance (the carriage and the pedestrians in the intersection) have sharp edges, while the features in the background become progressively indistinct.

The severe cropping of some figures – particularly the man to the far right – further suggests the influence of photography.

The painting was first shown at the Third Impressionist Exhibition of 1877. It is currently owned by the Art Institute of Chicago, AIC curator Gloria Groom described the work as the great picture of urban life in the late 19th century.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Paris Street in Rainy Weather1877Oil/CanvasLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Caillebotte, Gustave1848-1894French painter ParisImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-49]

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago USA212 x 276  
The full title, Red roofs, corner of a village, winter, makes clear the theoretical dimension of this work by Pissarro. In this painting he in fact moves away from an anecdotal idea of landscape.
The planes are in parallel succession on the surface of the canvas. So the impression of depth is rendered simply by the decreasing size of the subjects.

The slopes of the roofs, varying from orange-red to brown, seem to spread across the whole surface. The same tones can be found in the fields and plants in the foreground, as well as on the Côte St Denis in the background. The thick impasto catches the light, and makes the brushstrokes vibrant, conferring a great intensity and feeling of movement on the painted surface.

This painting dates from the time after 1865 when Pissarro and Cézanne used to work together on the same subject. But Cézanne’s version, The Orchard, Côte St Denis, at Pontoise (on loan to the Museum of Fine Arts, Saint Petersburg, Florida) offers a view from higher up. The houses and roofs disappear behind a curtain of trees, and the effects of the colours are limited by this intrusive vegetation.
[Source: musee-orsay.fr]

Image source: musee-orsay.fr
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Red Roofs, The1877Oil/CanvasLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Pissarro, Camille1830-1903, aged 72French painterImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-50]

Musée d’Orsay,  Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France55 x 66  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
It was at Pontoise in 1872 that Pissarro initiated Cezanne into the mysteries of painting in bright colours, a veritable conversion on the part of the painter from Aix-en-Provence, committed as he was to his dark hues. Cezanne, who esteemed Pissarro very highly, said that of all the painters he was in the closest touch with nature.

The two artists, whose influence over each other was henceforth mutual, often painted the same scenes. This picture was painted at Pontoise itself, at the back of the small house on the Quai du Pothuis where Pissarro lived. The orchard is dominated by the slope of the Hermitage, a massive, well-constructed landscape, very suitable to the temperament of the two artists as they sat side by side painting it. (Cezanne’s version never got beyond the stage of a sketch.)
[Source: visual-arts-cork.com]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Vegetable Garden with Trees in Blossom, Spring, Pontoise1877Oil/CanvasLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Pissarro, Camille1830-1903, aged 72French painterImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-70]

Musée d’Orsay,  Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France81 x 66  

Image source: khanacademy.org
A sculptural hybrid with a somewhat complicated history, The Walking Man was made from a cast of a torso that was probably a study for Rodin’s Saint John the Baptist Preaching joined to a cast of the legs from another study for the Saint John.

Rodin exhibited a plaster model of the resulting sculpture in his retrospective exhibition in the Place de l’Alma at the time of the Paris Exposition Universal of 1900. Between 1905 and 1907 he enlarged the sculpture and changed the title from A Study for Saint John the Baptist to The Walking Man. A bronze cast from the enlarged model was placed in the French embassy in Rome, then housed in the Palazzo Farnese.

The Walking Man displays not only Rodin’s fascination with partial figures, reminiscent of antique sculptural fragments, but also his interest in the sculptural representation of the human body in sequential motion. By showing both feet planted firmly on the ground, the sculptor attempted to record not a realistic depiction of a man walking, but instead the movements at the beginning and at the end of his step, producing the impression of a movement which, in fact, takes several moments to accomplish.
[Source: metmuseum.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Walking Man1877BronzeSculpture
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Rodin, Auguste (François Auguste René)1840-1917, aged 77French sculptor ParisImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-51]

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY USA85 cm high
Monet’s painting, The Gare Saint-Lazare, overwhelms the viewer not though its scale but through the deep sea of steam and smoke that envelops the canvas. Indeed, as one contemporary reviewer remarked somewhat sarcastically, Unfortunately thick smoke escaping from the canvas prevented our seeing the six paintings dedicated to this study.

The Gare Saint-Lazare depicts one of the passenger platforms of the Gare Saint-Lazare, one of Paris’s largest and busiest train terminals. The painting is not so much a single view of a train platform, it is rather a component in larger project of a dozen canvases which attempts to portray all facets of the Gare Saint-Lazare.

The paintings all have similar themes—including the play of light filtered through the smoke of the train shed, the billowing clouds of steam, and the locomotives that dominate the site.

Of these twelve linked paintings, Monet exhibited between six and eight of them at the third Impressionist exhibition of 1877, where they were among the most discussed paintings exhibited by any of the artists.
[Source: khanacademy.org]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Gare Sainte-Lazare, Train Arriving1877Oil/CanvasLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Monet, Claude1840-1926, aged 86French painterImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-52]

Musée d’Orsay,  Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France54 x 74  

Image source: edgar-degas.org
Edgar Degas was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist.

A superb draughtsman, he is especially identified with the subject of the dance, and over half his works depict dancers. These display his mastery in the depiction of movement, as do his racecourse subjects and female nudes. His portraits are considered to be among the finest in the history of art.
[Source: edgar-degas.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Prima Ballerina1877Pstl/PprPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Degas, Edgar1834-1917, aged 83French painter ParisImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-53]

Musée d’Orsay,  Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France0  
The countryside in winter particularly attracted Sisley who excelled in capturing the sadness and desolation of nature. His taciturn and solitary temperament was more suited to mystery and silence than to the brilliance of the sun-drenched Mediterranean landscapes of which artists like Renoir were so fond.

Like Monet, Sisley followed Courbet’s example in painting snow scenes. This subject appealed to the Impressionists because it allowed them to study the variations in the light, and to use different ranges of shades. Through small touches of colour placed on the canvas, the land appears iridescent with bluish reflections rather than uniformly white.

The winters spent in Louveciennes, in Marly-le-Roi or in Veneux-Nadon inspired Sisley to paint numerous snow scenes, such as this one. Snow at Louveciennes also illustrates the painter’s experiments with perspective: a snow-covered road disappears into the background, inhabited only by one small, isolated character. The artist’s sensitivity, expressed in these refined, delicate landscapes, where colours form discreet harmonies, may be explained by his British origins.
[Source: musee-orsay.fr]

Image source: alfredsisley.org
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Snow at Louveciennes 1878Oil/CanvasLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Sisley, Alfred1839-1899, aged 59French painterImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-54]

Musée d’Orsay,  Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France60 x 46  

Image source: visual-arts-cork.com
Manet painted the view depicted in The Road Menders from his art studio at 4 Rue de Saint-Petersbourg looking along the Rue de Berne (then the Rue Mosnier) to its intersection at an oblique angle with the Rue de Moscou, on several occasions during 1878.

Apart from this version, the other views of the road show it decorated with flags for the first Fete Nationale held in France since 1869. One of these pictures (Paul Mellon Collection, VA), shows the street almost deserted except for a one-legged man on crutches, a war-invalid, who serves as a reminder of the Franco Prussian War (1871) and the Paris Commune.
[Source: visual-arts-cork.com]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Road Menders, Rue de Berne, The1878Oil/CanvasLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Manet, Édouard1832-1883, aged 51French painter ParisImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-55]

Private collection63 x 79  

Image source: pinterest
At the sixth impressionist exhibition in the spring of 1881, Edgar Degas presented the only sculpture that he would ever exhibit in public. The Little Dancer Aged Fourteen has become one of the most beloved works of art, well known through the many bronze casts produced from this unique original statuette, following the artist’s death.

The sculpture was not so warmly received when she first appeared. The critics protested almost unanimously that she was ugly, and because she was considered a modern subject, a student dancer of the Paris Opera Ballet. Marie van Goethem, the model for the figure, was the daughter of a Belgian tailor and a laundress; her working–class background was typical of the Paris Opera school’s ballerinas. Young, pretty, and poor, the ballet students were also potential targets of male ‘protectors’.

Degas understood the predicament of the Little Dancer making it a very poignant, deeply felt work of art in which a little girl of fourteen, in spite of the difficult position in which she is placed, both physically and psychologically, struggles for a measure of dignity: her head is held high, though her arms and hands are uncomfortably stretched behind her back.
[Source: nga.gov]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Little Dancer Aged Fourteen1878-81WoodSculpture
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Degas, Edgar1834-1917, aged 83French painter ParisImpressionsim
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-56]

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC USA347 x 989  
Painted in 1889-90, Les Pommes encapsulates Cézanne’s artistic achievement, and displays the brilliance and economy which characterize his best work. This strikingly modern composition foregrounds the artist’s unrivaled facility with the medium and his ability to imbue a still-life with all of the subtlety and emotional potency of portraiture.

Cézanne’s still-lifes have long been recognized among his greatest achievements, the works which demonstrate most clearly the innovations that led to the stylistic developments of early twentieth-century art.  His vision breathed new life into the tradition of still-life painting, and his accomplishments had a profound impact on the generations of artists that followed. Picasso proclaimed that “Cézanne was like the father of us all,” and this statement has remained true to this day, with his painting, particularly still-lifes, continuing to influence artists in the twenty-first century.
[Source: sothebys.com]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Nature morte: les grosses pommes1879-1882Oil/CanvasStill Life
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Cézanne, Paul1839-1906, aged 67French painter Aix-en-ProvenceImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-57]

Musée de l’Orangerie, Jardin Tuileries, 75001 Paris, France46 x 54  
Maincy Bridge is an unusual painting in Cézanne’s oeuvre. Problems of dating and identifying the site have long heightened the ambiguity surrounding it. It is now agreed that it was painted late in 1879 or early in the following year. Indeed Cézanne is known to have lived at Melun at that time and the Maincy bridge is nearby.

At a time when he was moving away from Impressionism, very few of Cezanne’s paintings are so spattered with light. We can feel the air moving through the space and watch the water playing with myriad reflections. Yet the long straight brushstrokes, angled like crosshatching in a drawing, conjure up the sensual poetry of his latest works.

At the beginning of the 1880s, a new language was developing in the way the paint was laid on the canvas. This new “treatment”, which was later constantly explored and extended, especially in landscape painting, here finds a sort of perfect demonstration. The interaction between space and mass, form and reflection achieves a strict balance, both powerful and delicate, within a rigorously structured pictorial plane.
[Source: musee-orsay.fr]

Image source: art-cezanne.com
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Bridge at Maincy, The1879Oil/CanvasLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Cézanne, Paul1839-1906, aged 67French painter Aix-en-ProvenceImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-58]

Musée d’Orsay,  Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France58 x 72  

Image source; Wikimedia commons
In his manifesto The New Painting that appeared in 1876, the art critic Edmond Duranty recommended that a portrait should be the study of moral reflections on physical appearance and on dress, the observation of a man’s intimacy with his home environment, of the special features that his profession imprints on him…

Degas’ paintings had largely inspired Duranty in this concept of the art of the portrait. A few years later, in this painting, the artist produced a new example of this style. In fact, what might at first be taken for a simple scene of Parisian life is essentially a portrait, that of the banker Ernest May (1845-1925), a collector and an admirer of Degas.

Seemingly chaotic, but with great evocative power, the composition relies on a solid and ingenious structure. The painter observes his subject with a certain distance. As the son of a failed banker, Degas knew the world of money makers but refused to be involved in it.

May dominates the scene. Around him, other characters suggest the agitation prevalent in the stock exchange. However, the artist does not show their faces, or leaves their features indistinct in order to direct attention to the model.
[Source:musee-orsay.fr]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Portraits at the Boursec1879Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Degas, Edgar1834-1917, aged 83French painter ParisImpressionsim
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-59]

Musée d’Orsay,  Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France100 x 82  

Image source: wikiart.org
Edgar Degas mixes a multitude of rich colours while still portraying a significant scene. As part of the upper class, the impressionist artist held the opportunity to attend a number of wealthy events and performance.

Bright shades and colours fill the room, taking the viewer’s attention to not one particular place but rather the picture at large. The large room is filled with endless characters with hundreds at scale. The viewer is able to get a glimpse of some of the bodies moving throughout the painting. While most of the artist’s work brings attention to a particular character, all of the people in the frame merge together as one. When studying the painting, the viewer could spot some French military personnel near the bottom left of the painting. The rest of the characters blend into one another. However, upon looking at closer inspection, the viewer is able to locate some women in large grand ball gowns. Blue, red, green, and yellow dresses gently make appearances throughout the painting.
[Source: degaspaintings.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Dinner at the Ball1879Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Degas, Edgar1834-1917, aged 83French painter ParisImpressionsim
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-60]

Musée d’Orsay,  Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France46 x 67  
When conceived in 1880 in its original size (approx. 70 cm) as the crowning element of The Gates of Hell, seated on the tympanum, The Thinker was entitled The Poet. He represented Dante, author of the Divine Comedy which had inspired The Gates, leaning forward to observe the circles of Hell, while meditating on his work. The Thinker was therefore initially both a being with a tortured body, almost a damned soul, and a free-thinking man, determined to transcend his suffering through poetry. The pose of this figure owes much to Carpeaux’s Ugolino (1861) and to the seated portrait of Lorenzo de’ Medici carved by Michelangelo (1526-31).  

While remaining in place on the monumental Gates of Hell, The Thinker was exhibited individually in 1888 and thus became an independent work. Enlarged in 1904, its colossal version proved even more popular: this image of a man lost in thought, but whose powerful body suggests a great capacity for action, has become one of the most celebrated sculptures ever known.

Numerous casts (twenty-eight?) exist worldwide, including the one now in the gardens of the Musée Rodin, a gift to the City of Paris installed outside the Panthéon in 1906, and another in the gardens of Rodin’s house in Meudon, on the tomb of the sculptor and his wife.
[Source: musee-rodin.fr]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Thinker, The1880-1BronzeSculpture
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Rodin, Auguste (François Auguste René)1840-1917, aged 77French sculptor ParisImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-61]

Musée Rodin, 77 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris, France180 x 98 x 145  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Hailed as ‘one of the most famous French paintings of modern times’ when it was first exhibited, the Luncheon of the Boating Party was flanked by Alfred Sisley’s Snow at Louveciennes (above) and Banks of the Seine at the Phillips Memorial Gallery in December 1923. At the time, Phillips had intentions of forming a unit of Renoir’s works; however, as the painting came to serve its purpose as a magnet attracting to the museum ‘pilgrims to pay homage from all over the civilized world’, Phillips realized that the Luncheon of the Boating Party was the only major work by the artist that he would need.

Most of the models in the painting, all friends of the artist, have been identified. In the right foreground, Angèle, one of Renoir’s frequent models, turns her head toward the standing Maggiolo, a journalist. The painter Gustave Caillebotte sits backward in his chair and stares across the table at Aline Charigot, Renoir’s future wife, who coos at her terrier, while the burly Alphonse Fournaise Jr., son of the restaurant’s owner, leans against the balcony’s railing surveying the scene. In the center, Baron Raoul Barbier, a former cavalry officer, is seated with his back to the viewer speaking to the woman resting on her elbows on the railing, who is thought to be Alphonsine Fournaise, the daughter of the proprietor. Across the table from Barbier is the actress Ellen Andrée, drinking from a glass. Behind her, the top-hatted Charles Ephrussi, a banker and editor of Gazette des beaux-arts, chats with Jules Laforgue, poet, critic, and Ephrussi’s personal secretary. In the upper right, Eugène Pierre Lestringuez, an official in the Ministry of the Interior, laughs with Jeanne Samary, a famous actress with the Comédie Française, while the artist Paul Lhote, a close friend of Renoir’s, cocks his head. Renoir has immortalized his friends to such a degree that the image is “not anectdotal but monumental.”
[Source: phillipscollection.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Luncheon of the Boating Party (Le Dejeuner des Canotiers)1880Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Renoir, Pierre-Auguste 1841-1919, aged 78French painterImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-62]

Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW. Washington DC USA130 x 173  
Degas often made portraits of his family and friends but he was also an attentive observer of the working world in millinery workshops or laundries. Only Daumier before him had taken an interest in washerwoman, who became one of Degas’s favourite subjects between 1869 and 1895. At first he painted single figures seen against the light, picked out sharply against the white linen. Then, about 1884-1886, he dwelled more heavily on the subject, this time depicting two women in a laundry.

There are four variations of an almost identical composition in this series, with one figure yawning and the other leaning heavily on her iron.

The canvas in the Musée d’Orsay is the third variation in the set. Degas has concentrated on the women’s gestures trying to catch fleeting, everyday movements in a representation that is neither heroic nor caricatured.

The subject and its treatment later impressed young Pablo Picasso in his blue period who took up the theme in an often pathetic mode.
[Source: musee-orsay.fr]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Women Ironing1884-86Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Degas, Edgar1834-1917, aged 83French painter ParisImpressionsim
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-63]

Musée d’Orsay,  Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France76 x 82  
This large picture was Seurat’s first major composition, painted when he had not yet turned 25. He intended it to be a grand statement with which he would make his mark at the official Salon in the spring of 1884, but it was rejected.

Several men and boys relax on the banks of the Seine at Asnières and Courbevoie, an industrial suburb north-west of central Paris.

Shown in profile, they are as immobile as sculptures and each seems absorbed in his own thoughts, neither engaging with each other nor with us. Suffused with bright but hazy sunlight, the entire scene has an almost eerie stillness to it, as if time has been suspended and all movement temporarily frozen. In the background there is a railway bridge that partly hides a parallel road bridge, as well as the chimneys of the gas plant and factories at Clichy, where some of the men may work.
[Source: nationalgallery.org.uk]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Bathers at Asnières1884Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Seurat, Georges1859-1891, aged 31French painter ParisImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-64]

National Gallery, London UK201 X 300  

Image source: khanacademy.org
The Burghers of Calais is a sculpture by Auguste Rodin in twelve original castings and numerous copies.

It commemorates an event during the Hundred Years’ War, when Calais, a French port on the English Channel, surrendered to the English after an eleven-month siege.

The city commissioned Rodin to create the sculpture in 1884 and the work was completed in 1889. [Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Burghers of Calais, The1884-89BronzeSculpture, Public Art
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Rodin, Auguste (François Auguste René)1840-1917, aged 77French sculptor ParisImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-65]

Place du Soldat Inconnu, 62100 Calais,202 x 205 x 196  

Image source: metmuseum.org
This is the second of two variants of a composition that Degas created about 1885 (State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg).

In this version, he used a new technique, applying pastel in so many successive layers that the pigment became burnished and the underlying paper rubbed to such an extent that the fibers were loosened and now project from the surface like many little hairs.

Degas also emphasized anti-natural chartreuses and greens in modeling the figure’s pink flesh, perhaps inspired by the play of complementary color contrasts in the work of such younger contemporaries as Seurat or Van Gogh.
[Source: metmuseum.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Woman Combing Her Hair1887-90Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Degas, Edgar1834-1917, aged 83French painter ParisImpressionsim
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-66]

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY USA61 x 46  
The Kiss originally represented Paolo and Francesca, two characters borrowed, once again, from Dante’s Divine Comedy: slain by Francesca’s husband who surprised them as they exchanged their first kiss. The two lovers were condemned to wander eternally through Hell.

This group, designed in the early stages of the elaboration of The Gates, was given a prominent position on the lower left door, opposite Ugolino, until 1886, when Rodin decided that this depiction of happiness and sensuality was incongruous with the theme of his vast project.

He therefore transformed the group into an independent work and exhibited it in 1887. The fluid, smooth modelling, the very dynamic composition and the charming theme made this group an instant success. Since no anecdotal detail identified the lovers, the public called it The Kiss, an abstract title that expressed its universal character very well.

The French state commissioned an enlarged version in marble, which Rodin took nearly ten years to deliver. Not until 1898 did he agree to exhibit what he called his “huge knick-knack” as a companion piece to his audacious Balzac , as if The Kiss would make it easier for the public to accept his portrait of the writer.

It joined the collections of the Musée du Luxembourg in 1901 and was transferred to the Musée Rodin in 1919.
[Source: musee-rodin.fr]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Kiss, The (three versions)1888-1889MarbleSculpture
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Rodin, Auguste (François Auguste René)1840-1917, aged 77French sculptor ParisImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-67]

Musée Rodin, 77 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris, France182 x 112 x 117  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Though Cézanne rarely hired professional models, an Italian named Michelangelo di Rosa was the subject for this work—one in a series of four paintings and two watercolors he made of this boy in a red vest.

Di Rosa is seen here in profile, casually hunched over with his hands on his lap. The short brushstrokes and triangular composition of the work provide a sense of volume and underscore the monumental stability of the figure.

In one account, the painting’s first owner, the artist Claude Monet, referred to Boy in a Red Vest as the best picture he owned, and it inspired him to declare of his contemporary, Cézanne is the greatest of us all. [Source: .moma.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Boy in the Red Vest, The1889-90Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Cézanne, Paul1839-1906, aged 67French painter Aix-en-ProvenceImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-68]

Foundation E.G. Bührle, Zollikerstrasse 172, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland80 x 65  
Cezanne painted three versions of Paulin Paulet leaning on his elbow, smoking a small white clay pipe. Here, he is sitting in the kitchen of Jas de Bouffan, leaning on a table covered in the brown tablecloth seen in The Card Players (Musee d’Orsay), a painting in which he also appears.

Cezanne gives him a calm, solid pose, devoid of any gesture or expression, which lends him a certain gravitas. A small still life arrangement, consisting of some fruit and two bottles of wine, can be seen behind his elbow. His hat is pushed back on his head and his suit has been painted in grey tones. Perhaps because of these light greys, as well as the blues and golds in the rest of the picture, the work appears much less sombre than Paulin’s portrait in The Smoker (1891-2) in Mannheim.

Paulin also appears in the more lyrical version of Man Smoking a Pipe (1890-2) in Moscow. His opponent in The Card Players (Musee d’Orsay), ‘le pere Alexandre’ is also the sitter for Man with a Pipe at the Courtauld Gallery, London. In both Smoker paintings, Cezanne gives Paulin and ‘le pere Alexandre’ the same blank expression. As a result it is impossible to say if they are wise or merely vacant. Whatever the case, their immobility and their lack of expression imparts a timeless, tranquil quality to these compositions, no doubt reflecting the unvarying routines of provincial life.
[Source: visual-arts-cork.com]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Man Smoking a Pipe1890-2Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Cézanne, Paul1839-1906, aged 67French painter Aix-en-ProvenceImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1512-69]

State Hermitage Museum, Palace Square, 2, St Petersburg, Russia, 19000993 x 74  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
The model for this portrait has not been precisely identified but she was probably one of the employees at the Jas de Bouffan, the Cézannes’ family home near Aix en Provence.

Cézanne used few professional models, preferring to work with members of his family or people he knew well, probably because he felt shy and painted very slowly. Despite this proximity, Woman with a Coffeepot is a study of forms rather than character.

The main elements in the composition – the woman’s body, the cup and the coffeepot – are painted in a highly simplified way in a strict arrangement of horizontal and vertical lines. This geometrical approach to volumes and the slant of the table represented from a higher angle than the objects standing on it herald Cubism.

Probably executed about 1895, the painting records the shift in Cézanne’s art, twenty years after he had begun to move away from Impressionism. He wished to ‘treat nature through cylinders, spheres and cones’ and has approached this portrait like a still life. Nevertheless, the model’s work-roughened hands and plain but dignified face show the painter’s sympathy. [Source: musee-orsay.fr]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Woman with a Coffee Pot1890-5Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Cézanne, Paul1839-1906, aged 67French painter Aix-en-ProvenceImpressionism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):  
Musée d’Orsay,  Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France130 x 96  

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Back to 1.5.1.2 Impressionism I (1860-1873) – Back to 1.5.1 Impressionism Index (1860-1895)
Back to 1.5 Modern Art Index (1860-1930)

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