What is impressionism? It is the word that you will see quite often when browsing art gallery. Impressionism is a widely popular European style artworks that shifted the focus to how light could define a moment in time, with color providing definition instead of black lines. The Impressionists emphasized the practice of plein air painting or painting in an open air. By carefully incorporating the natural surrounding with the subject, this style is a step further from the previous era. Impressionist artists seek to present the world in the way they see it, not what they are told to see. Consequently, their paintings mirror the individual perspective and allow artists to embed more of themselves into their artworks. 

All of this makes Impressionism a very attractive niche for collectors and art enthusiasts. Because this type of work highlights the character and reflect the artists especially in how they view the world. These paintings typically crafted with the subjects clearly in the front, preferably in an open space. One can anticipate how the artists see their subjects and what kind of feelings come out of the various components. 

Some of the most distinctive feature of Impressionism is thicker and somewhat messy brushstrokes. This can sometimes be seen clearly even in some distance. As discussed how the movement put a new focus on painting from traditional beauty to a more artist-oriented perspective about arts. This type of brushstrokes reflects the dynamic where time and moment interacts as it occurred to the artist. The asymmetric beauty of this is the natural part of Impressionism. Additionally, the subjects of Impressionism artworks tend to be one of the things we can typically encounter in our daily lives such as city landscape with people go about their businesses, still life of a common objects like fruits or stationary, friends and family in an outdoor activity. They are in a sense, offer us a more relatable point of view than traditional French painting. 

Impressionism paintings are the key feature in our Master Apollon® collection. Many of the familiar names like Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne or Gustave Caillebotte are all prominent impressionists. Their paintings continue to increase in popularity as time goes on and the demands are on the rise. The subjects in impressionist work can vary depending on the artists; for Renoir the simple beauty of everyday life was his favorite, while Cluade Monet preferred to play with time and its impact on the world. 

History of Impressionism 

Beginning in the late19th century a group of Parisan artists including, but not limited to painters began to take back control of art that was a matter shaped unilaterally by the central French government. With the goal to liberate arts from class subject matter and the centralized system of how art is dictated at that time, artists like Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Paul CézanneEdgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro were an important part of impressionism movement. Which at that time when more conservative views and central standards had been dominating the norm of Western art in what a painting should focus and what beauty should mean in an artwork. 

When a new movement was formed under the name of The Cooperative and Anonymous Association of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers. Impressionism focuses on painting the world and their subjects in the artist’s perspective maximizing beauty through lighting technique in an outdoor setting. This went against the standard set up by the traditionally established framework like Realism artwork. The group went on to host their own gallery show using a studio of a famous Paris photographer in 1874, comprised with artworks that were rejected by the Academie, an official institution where paintings are normally submitted to show there. One of the highlights of the paintings there was Monet’s Impression, Sunrise which gave the name of this art style was heavily ridiculed and rejected.  

 This effort to “break away” from the traditional realist movement was considered a radical move for this newly formed group of artists. The movement was heavily rejected at first but ultimately the beauty that offers new perspective in arts were able to gain acceptance and continued to have their own Impressionist exhibitions with success in establishing their style until 1886. From that point, Impressionism went on to have a major impact not just on European paintings but arts around the world that bridged beautiful artwork with people because of the more easily relatable of their style.  


10 Interesting Things About Impressionism

    1. Edouard Manet was like the Captain of Impressionism  

      Eduard Manet played the key role in introducing modernistic ideas of arts in the street of Paris. Back then the European arts world was essentially fixated in Realism ideas of artworks that was also reflecting in France bureaucracy. Although Manet didn’t create Impressionism directly, his influence was the reason many younger artists were able to accept and expand Impressionism into a more popular movement. 

      He and his ardent followers would meet up at least twice a week to discuss the future of painting in Manet’s studio. Among his posse, you could easily spot Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Frederic Bazille, Camille Pissarro, and others. It was here that the Alla Prima AKA wet on wet technique. Which was an important feature in Impressionism paintings that allow the artists to capture their “moments” in a timelier manner.

      2. The movement was nameless for more than 10 years 

      Some people already know what a rough beginning Impressionism had as a newly emerged form of art movement in 19th Century Paris. With the origin in roughly 1860s,
      The group of young artists whose names mentioned earlier called themselves the Anonymous Society of painters, sculptors, and printmakers. They faced an uphill struggle, being unable to get The Paris Salon to welcome this new paradigm shift in art society which they were rejected in multiple occasions. 

      This nameless art movement was a prime subject of art critic in Paris where upon hosting their very first exhibition, Claude Monet’s painting Impression Sunrise was callout by art critic Louis Leroy mocking the painting as a mere impression of a wallpaper. This is when the artists decided to take up this name as they felt it best reflected the intention and soul of the movement. Right then, Leroy’s joke became a beautiful reality. 

      3. It all began in a studio

        The origin of Impressionism can be traced back to 1862. It is believed that one fateful meeting at a studio named Charles Gleyre’s studio in Paris was the start of this art movement. The founding members of Impressionism, who at that time, were at the pivotal moment in their lives mostly trying to change their career and join the art world. Frederic Bazille had been pursuing medical career, before he realized he wanted to be an artist. Claude Monet was kicked out by his father because of his passion for painting. Alfred Sisley had studied business in London, but he’d quitted and returned to Paris. The other member was Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

        All four of these young artists were the origin of Impressionism. With Charles Gleyre the Swiss owner as the first art teacher of early Impressionist artists teaching them for the next five months in his studio. After a while the group decided to work on their crafts in the open air on the countryside. Hence, reflecting the characteristic of Impressionism. Gleyre’s studio became the memory where the vanguards of Impressionism were found.  


        4. Some of the artists took part in the Franco-Prussian war

          In the 1870 at the peak of the tension among Europe’s major powers Prussia, France, and England. The Franco-Prussian war would go on to become one of the biggest wars in the history that left impacts on several areas of life in Europe including an influence in war artworks. A number of Impressionism artists also participated in the war to defend their motherland. This includes Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir who was injured in the war, and Frederic Bazille was killed when he was leading an assault inthe Battle of Beaune-la-Rolande.


          5. Some escaped that same war 

            Yet not all artists were made or had what it took to fight such deadly total war. But to be fair, it was rather a good thing for Impressionism that most of the prominent artists survived or did not participate in the war. Otherwise, a heavily criticized art movement like Impressionism might not have survived all the challenges.Claude Monet fled the war in Paris to the safety of London with his family while Paul Cezanne escaped the carnage and kept low in the rural countryside. Alfred Sisley took his family back home in London. It is possible to assume that the artists’ families played a major part in encouraging these young artists not to join the war. Saving their own lives and Impressionism as a result.

            6. They seemed to like bridges 

              Another major phenomenon in Europe Impressionists found themselves right in the middle of was the second industrial revolution. It was a major paradigm shift that essentially took place right after Europe’s major war. The revolution resulted in a rapid changes of Paris landscape when modernism in art was settling its root. The fast development of the outdoor view became a playground for Impressionism painters, with Industrial-age bridges as their prime object. 

              For Impressionists who primarily look to the outside world as their object for artwork and ready to capture their moments, these bridges were symbolized with new changes, development, and an excitement of future for the working class. Artists like Monet, Cezanne, and Sisley often found themselves around one of industrial bridges painting them in different angles, mesmerized by the prospect of a better developed nation and the beauty of the structure. 

              7. Painters had to be models too

                While it’s true that Impressionism wasn’t the first art movement to feature female, it’s arguably one that contributed to expanding women’s role in the art world that was heavily dominated by men.Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Eva Gonzales, Suzanne Valadon and Camille Claudel are some of the earlier female artists that had successfully broke into arts. They were often featured in other Impressionists works; Morisot would pose for Manet, Valadon would pose for Renoir, and Camille for Rodin. 

                The Impressionism community figured they could cut the financial cost by having their friends model for the painting. Many of this was more or less against The Academy (art school) that they wanted women to only have a minimal role in arts. Which was not the idea agreed by Impressionists who were more open to feminism more than traditional ideas. 

                8. East Asia was one of the main inspirations

                  At the other side of the world Japanese art, particularly the Ukiyo-e painting style had been a famous phenomenon starting from late 1600s in the then closed-country Japan. Western artists would collect Japanese artworks and study them as if they are something completely out of the planet. But to be fair, the many differences probably made them feel like an exotic beauty and this open Impressionists to a new type of aesthetic. Derived from Japanese culture. It was so influential that even Monet designed a Japanese bridge in his own garden (Again, reflecting the love of bridges in Impressionism).  

                  9. Café, Café, and Café 

                    If you look back at Impressionism artworks, you’d realize how many of the scenes seem to be from an open-air European café. That’s right, this is because these artists loved hanging out in cafe. Similar to how we’d go to Starbuck all the time these days, back at the battle between Impressionism and a more powerful nexus of the Academy and Salon. The movement still needed frequent meetings and debates to proliferate its teachings. 

                    Since they had already left the studio where they originally started. Bars and cafes were the only meeting place for suburban Paris. Maxim’s de Paris, Cafe des Ambassadeurs, and Follies Bergere were some of the more popular Impressionist haunts. They talked, fought, worked on their paintings, all the similar activities just like what we’d do today with our friends. 

                    10. Lived in countryside, vacationed in cities  

                      Due to the changes that was taking place in France, Impressionism artists had to moved out of the city centers. Cities like Paris was becoming rapidly industrialized, jobs were created, and new businesses were hiring people. Soon Paris became too overcrowded for these artists to enjoy their outdoor beauty. Monet bought a house in Giverny and, Pissarro in Eragny, Renoir in Cagnes-sur-Mer. While many wealthy people today would live in
                      New York or San Francisco, and travel to places like Montana, Iceland, and Seychelles for vacation. Impressionists thought the opposite, they opted to work in the outdoor of rural France with less distraction and more serenity. Every once in a while they’d book a hotel in metropolitan cities where they winded down from work and enjoy their version of vacation.   

                      The legacy of Impressionism 

                      Throughout the next three decades after its founding, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism became increasingly popular, as evidenced by the major exhibitions of Monet and Van Gogh at the Metropolitan Museum in New York in the 1980s, both of which drew enormous crowds. Record prices to date include two 1990 sales, one at Sotheby's of Renoir's Au Moulin de la Galette for $78.1 million, the other at Christie's of Van Gogh's Portrait du Dr. Gachet for $82.5 million.

                      Impressionism Undoubtedly known as one of the most influential arts movement in European art history and likely the rest of the world. It served as the starting point of modernism; Impressionism influenced many ensuing movements. Its distinctive use of thick brushstroke was adopted by Post-Impressionists. Key figure like Monet’s non-conventional approach to form was also later adopted by contemporary artists.