Historical and Cultural Context

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E-Mail Doug at mrdoug@aznet.net or Melissa at melissa.granadatreehousestudio@gmail.com

Impressionism - French Artists

Impressionism - American Artists

Impressionism - French and American (1860's-early 1900's)

A movement in painting that originated in France in the 1860's. Impressionisst painters celebrated the overwhelming vision of nature seen in the splendour of natural light -- whether dawn, daylight or twilight. They were fascinated by the relationship between light and colour, painting in pure pigment using free brushstrokes. They were also radical in their choice of subject matter, avoiding traditional historical, religious or romantic themes to concentrate on landscapes and scenes of everyday life. The movement's name, initially coined in derision by a journalist, was inspired by one of Claude Monet's paintings entitled Impression -- Sunrise (The Art Book, p. 507).

Radicalism of Impressionism: "Trees are Not Violet; The Sky is Not Butter!" - art critic Albert Wolff after the second Impressionist exhibition (http://www.impressionism.org/teachimpress/resourcepacket.doc)

Impressionism broke every rule of the French Academy of Fine Arts, the conservative school that had dominated art training and taste since 1648. - (http://www.impressionism.org/teachimpress/resourcepacket.doc)

Edgar Degas - Dance Class at the Opéra - 1872 -

Events that shaped the arts from 1850 to 1933.
See Post-Impressionist and Art Nouveau for additional events. | Top

The Crystal Palace - 1851 -

1851 - The Great Exhibition opened in London's Hyde Park in the Crystal Palace, a million square feet of glass on a framework of bare iron forming its walls and roof. The Great Exhibition celebrated the height of civilization to which the whole of mankind had risen (WH, pp. 546-547).

1854 - After 250 years of almost no contact with the industrialized countries of the world, American Commodore Matthew Perry coerced Japan into opening it's doors to Western trade and diplomacy (WH, p. 584).

1859 - Englishman, Henry Bessemer developed a less costly way to make steel. He forced blasts of hot air through the molten iron to burn out impurities. Bessemer began using his new "blast furnace" in 1859 in his factories at Sheffield (WH, p. 594).

1865 - Lewis Carroll's first edtion of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland appeared. Both Tenniel, the illustrator, and Carroll condemned the book because the pictures were printed poorly. Some of these 2000 copies were given by Carroll to hospitals and institutions where he thought the book might be enjoyed and some were sold in America. It was six years later that Through the Looking Glass was published (http://www.victorianstation.com/authorcarroll.htm).

1879 - Thomas Alva Edison developed the first practical electric light bulb (WH, p. 595). | Top

1889 - The invention of the electric elevator made possible a new kind of building for crowded cities -- the skyscraper.

1901 - William Knox D'Arcy, a British speculator, made a deal with the shah of Persia, paying him a share of the profits in exchange for the right to drill oil wells in Persia (WH, p. 669).

1908 - D'Arcy made the first oil strike in the Middle East. Soon his company, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, controlled the industry in Iran (WH, p. 669). | Top

Sarah Bernhardt - "The Divine Sarah", is the woman who is perhaps most responsible for popularizing the classic mousquetaire style of glove in America and Europe during the late 1870's and early 1880's. http://www.geocities.com/michelelynn5/sarah.html

1911 - Sarah Bernhardt made her first successful film, a hand-colored two-reeler of La Dame aux Camellias, better known to American audiences as Camille. She flat-out did this for the money, an impressive $30,000. Co-starring her new young discovery Lou Tellegen, the film attracted a higher class of audiences to the moving picture houses. One critic wrote that "Bernhardt is the perfect mistress of gesture, pose and expression, and the pictures make the story thrillingly plain." (http://www.classicimages.com/1997/june/bernhard.html)

Impressionism - Artists | Top

French Artists

  • Frédéric Bazille (French, 1841-1870),
  • Gustave Caillebotte (French, 1848 - 1894)
  • Mary Cassatt (American, but part of the original movement in France and was a key contributor to American Impressionism)

A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art. - Paul Cézanne

  • Paul Cézanne (French, 1839-1906)
  • Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
  • Edouard Manet (French, 1832-1883)

Claude Monet - Waterlillies,Green Reflection, Left Part - 1916-1923 -

  • Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926)

Berthe Morisot - The Bath (Girl Arranging Her Hair) - 1885-86 -

  • Berthe Morisot (French, 1841-1895)
  • Camille Pissarro (French, 1830-1903)
  • Pierre Auguste Renoir (French, 1841-1919)

Auguste Rodin - Minerva -

  • Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917)
  • Alfred Sisley (French, 1839-1899)

American Artists | Top

  • Frank Benson (American, 1862-1951)

Mary Cassatt - Mother and Child against a Green Background (Maternity) - 1897 - http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/cassatt/

  • Mary Cassatt (1845-1926)

Frederick Carl Frieseke - Through the Vines - 1908 -

  • Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874-1939)
  • Childe Hassam (American, 1859-1935)
  • John Henry Twachtman (1853-1902)
  • Julian Alden Weir (American, 1852-1919)

Historical and Cultural Context | Site Map | On-Line Resources | Rules of Thumb | Glossary | Quotes | WordList | Co-Teachers - Doug and Melissa | Gallery | Top

E-Mail Doug at mrdoug@aznet.net or Melissa at melissa.granadatreehousestudio@gmail.com

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