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The Impressionist Saga 

Deconstructing a myth

Olympia and A Bar

The official discourse on the Impressionists promotes a marketable label and a simplified conception of the group.

2. Friendships and singularities 

A group of friends

If the young painters Monet, Renoir and Bazille were close friends, shared a penchant for dissent, dreamed of shaking up the establishment and went out together to paint in the open air, they were also very different in style and personality; differences that call for a closer look.

3. The Impressionist exhibitions:
cooperation and divergences


The eight Impressionist exhibitions


The Salon was reluctant to show their work, so it became necessary to exhibit outside the official framework. Between 1874 and 1883, eight independent exhibitions were held, now known as the Impressionist exhibitions. This collective project, however, concealed profound differences in the personalities and styles of the exhibitors.

Capturing a fleeting impression

  • A comparative study of the Grenouillère by Renoir and Monet.

  • A study of the degree of ephemerality in the work of Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas. When are they acting as painters of fleeting impressions?

4. The impression under scrutiny

1. Four precursors

Delacroix, Courbet, Boudin and Jongkind


  • Eugène Delacroix and Gustave Courbet, for abandoning the sacrosanct academic finish and asserting the primacy of colour over drawing. 

  • Eugène Boudin and Barthold Jongkind, for their atmospheric realism and their treatment of seascapes.

Readings John Rewald, The History of Impressionism, Museum of Modern Art, 1973 Richard R. Bretell, Impression, Painting Quickly in France, 1860-1890, Yale UP., 2000

Iconographic study

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