Terms

Impressionism

The impressionist movement was born when a small group of artists, frustrated by their exclusion from the state-sponsored exhibitions of contemporary art, arranged to show their work together privately.

The roster of artists who exhibited at the eight impressionist exhibitions that followed between 1874 and 1886 was changing and diverse, but a core group today defines impressionism for modern audiences: Frédéric Bazille, Gustave Caillebotte, Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Alfred Sisley. They were drawn together not only by their shared interest in a new way of exhibiting their art but also by their common exploration of a new subject matter: modern life as it was lived in and around Paris. The impressionists explored new social types, new forms of entertainment and leisure, and new kinds of urban and suburban spaces during the 1870s and 1880s.

Landscape was also an important genre for the impressionists, and one in which their new approach to painting can best be observed. The impressionists championed plein-air painting, working outdoors and directly before their subject. The spontaneity of this approach was intended to preserve the freshness and immediacy of perception itself, rather than the imitation of visual experience that had been the traditional goal of painters. Visible brushwork in pure, unmixed colors creates shimmering effects, capturing the fleeting properties of light and shadow.

Excerpt from

DMA label copy, 2010.

Related Multimedia

lecture; speaker is Senior Curator at the Sterling and Francine Clark Institute
Gallery Talk; speaker is artist and nationally recognized expert in early photographic process
Gallery talk by Dr. Philippe Chuard, Associate Professor in Philosophy, Southern Methodist University
Richard R. Brettell Lecture Series; Discussion of the artistic movement that redefined and era; With presentations and conversations with Dr. Joachim Pissarro, great-grandson of impressionist painter Camille Pissarro, and Visiting Professor, Hunter College, City University of New York; Dr. Richard R. Brettell, Professor of Aesthetic Studies at The University of Texas at Dallas and FRAME American Director; and Dr. Dorothy Kosinski, Senoir Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, and the Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art, DMA
In celebration of the publication for the Richard R. Brettell Lecture series, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism at the Dallas Museum of Art, Richard R. Brettell and Dorothy Kosinski discuss two works aquired during their tenure at the DMA. Richard R. Brettell, The Margaret McDermott Chair of Art and Aesthetics at the University of Texas at Dallas and former Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, "A Liebermann for Dallas: Max Liebermannâ019s Swimmers"; Dr. Dorothy Kosinski, Director of The Phillips Collection and formerly The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art and Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Dallas Museum of Art, "Symbolist Profusion: Léon Frédéricâ019s Nature or Abundance". Dr. Brettell and Dr. Kosinski are later joined on stage by Dr. Maxwell L. Anderson, the Eugene McDermott Director, and Olivier Meslay, the Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art, for a conversation about the process of building the DMAâ019s collection of European art from the 1980s to the present and prospects for the future growth of the collection.
Gallery talk; speaker is former Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, British Royal Collection; This talk is presented in partnership with The School of Arts and Humanities at UT Dallas
Brettell Lecture series, [Brettell European Art Lecture Series]; in conjunction with ; speaker is Chief Curator, Kimbell Museum of Art;

Fun Facts

  • The term "impressionist" originated when critic Louis Leroy negatively reviewed the 1874 exhibition which included works by Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, and Claude Monet, among others. Leroy used the term to deride Claude Monet's painting Impression, Sunrise as sketchy or unfinished.

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