Post Impressionism week five Background/context The École des Beaux-

• The École des Beaux-Arts (est. 1648) was a government controlled school originally meant to guarantee a pool of artists available to decorate the palaces of Louis XIV

Artistic training at The École des Beaux-Arts

• Students at the École des Beaux Arts were required to pass exams which proved they could imitate classical art.

• An École education had three essential parts: learning to copy engravings of Classical art, drawing from casts of Classical statues and finally drawing from the

The Academy, Académie des Beaux-Arts

• The École des Beaux-Arts was an adjunct to the French Académie des beaux-arts

• The Academy held a virtual monopoly on artistic styles and tastes until the late 1800s

• The Academy favored classical subjects painted in a highly polished classical

was at its most influential phase during the periods of and

• The Academy ranked subject matter in order of importance -History and classical subjects were the most important types of -Landscape was near the bottom - and were unworthy subjects for art

The Salons • The Salons were annual art shows sponsored by the Academy • If an artist was to have any success or recognition, it was essential achieve success in the Salons Realism

What is Realism?

Courbet rebelled against the strictures of the Academy, exhibiting in his own shows. Other groups of painters followed his example and began to rebel against the Academy as well.

• Subjects attempt to make the ordinary into something beautiful

• Subjects often include peasants and workers

• Subjects attempt to show the undisguised truth of life

• Realism deliberately violates the standards of the Academy.

• Genre scenes, a favorite of the Realists, were considered unworthy subjects for art by the Academy

• The are not technically sophisticated. Sometimes brushwork is still visible (impasto) Realism , Stone Breakers, 1849

hyperlink: Gustave Courbet’s Ordinary road workers are elevated to the status of art. Painted nearly life size on painting technique, 3 min an enormous canvas, this painting was considered ugly, offensive and rude by Academic standards. Realism Gustave Courbet, Studio of a Painter: A Real Allegory Summarizing My Seven Years as an Artist, 1854

•50 people were invited to Courbet’s studio. They were posed informally • The people on the left are the peasants and workers • The people on the right are the Parisian intellectuals and collectors • Nobody pays any attention to Courbet except the nude, the boy and the dog. • Courbet organized his own exhibit for this painting in 1855. The show was called “Du Realisme.” • By organizing his own show in an era when the Academy dictated taste, Courbet was proclaiming artistic freedom from Academic tyranny. Realism Gustave Courbet, Burial at Ornans, 1849 Realism Jean-François Millet, , 1857 Realism Honoré Daumier, Rue Transnonain, 1834 Realism Honoré Daumier, The Third Class Carriage, 1862 , Wm. Rush Carving his Allegorical Figure of the Schuykill River, 1876-1877

Compare with neoclassical painting of a similar subject: Jean-Léon Gérôme, Pygmalion and Galatea, 1860 American Realism Thomas Eakins, The Gross Clinic, 1875 American Realism , The Banjo Lesson, 1893 Impressionism

What is Impressionism? hyperlink: Sister Wendy: Impressions of Light (1), 10 min. • The term is applied to describe a group of artists who exhibited in in the 1860s to 1880s Manet, •Impressionist subjects are often of the Parisian nouveaux-riche, enjoying themselves in Monet, Impression Sunrise leisurely activities Monet, Waterlilies • The Impressionists often made extensive use of complementary colors • The Impressionists left their brush marks visible Renoir, Party (beginning) • The goal of the Impressionists was to create beautiful canvases. Creating a sense of modeled, believable 3-D space was not a priority. The Impressionists acknowledged the flatness of the canvas. • The Impressionists left their brush marks unblended and visible. The strokes of paint hyperlink: Sister Wendu Impres- sit on the surface and acknowledge the flatness of the canvas. sion of Light (2), 10 min. Artistic Freedom Renoir, Boating Party • During the second half of the 1800s, artists began to decide they had the freedom to paint anything they wanted to paint Degas, The Dance Class • The hierarchies of the Academy were eliminated ( at the top, still-life at Seurat, La Grande Jatte, Young the bottom, etc.) Woman Powdering herself • Artists depended less on the Salons for success. There was an increasing number of independent art dealers and galleries for exhibiting and selling art. •The Academy no longer had a monopoly on dictating style and taste Impressionism Edouard Manet, Luncheon on the Grass, 1863

• Classical nudes had always been a favored subject of the Academy and the Parisian elite. • This nude, however, was not classical. She is an ordinary woman seated beside two men. She looks at the viewer with a frank expression. • She was a Scandal! She was considered vulgar and obscene by the elite. • The nude attacks the hypocrisy of the Academy

• The style violates Academic standards as well • The lighting is unreal. The bather is lit from a different source • The sharply defined contours of the figures contrast with the background. The figures look flat and as if they were cut from another painting and pasted on this one. • There are 3 disconnected scenes: the picnic still-life, the three people and the bather. It is as if this is 3 different paintings • The bather is too large in scale to be as far in the distance as the landscape suggests. Impressionism

Courbet, , 1853 (Realism)

Manet was an admirer of Courbet. In what ways does Manet’s Luncheon pay tribute to Courbet? Impressionism

Édouard Manet, The Fifer, 1866

• The Fifer’s style was so anti- Academic, that it was considered laughable.

•The boy is sharply defined against a contrasting background. It is as if he is a paper doll

• The background does not suggest a believable 3-D space. It is as close in the foreground as the boy

•The lighting is unreal. The cast shadows are too tiny for the bright light

• The pant legs are not modeled. The folds are indicated by a single stroke of black paint.

• Manet’s deliberate measures to “flatten” his subject acknowledges the flat surface of the canvas. Impressionism Edouard Manet, The Bar at the Folies Bergere, 1882

•Much of the composition takes place on the surface of the mirror. This re-emphasizes the flatness of the canvas • The mirror image of the Parisian bourgeois enjoying themselves contrasts with the unhappy barmaid. • The brushstrokes are left unblended and visible to sit on the surface of the canvas. This acknowledges the flatness of the canvas. • Manet’s first loyalty was to create a beautiful canvas. Creating an illusionistic window on the canvas was always secondary. Impressionism

Claude Monet, On The Banks of the , 1868

•Monet preferred to paint landscapes, a subject that was considered inferior by the Academy. •The painting is full of sunlight. To achieve this luminosity, black is avoided and the darkest color is the green leaves •Areas of brown are enlivened with oranges, yellows and bright greens • The sky is a flat patch of pure blue • The tree is essentially a dark, flat silhouette •There is no attempt to blend colors. The colors are left pure and unmixed--as if they are tesserae Impressionism

Auguste Renoir, Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881

•Renoir often painted scenes of the Parisian nouveaux-riche enjoying themselves • The scene in informally posed. It has a “snapshot” quality • There is extensive use of bright complementary colors. The yellow hats contrast with the purple garments • The short brushstrokes are left unblended and visible on the surface • Unlike the other Impressionists, Renoir never fully abandoned his classical training. His figures are fully modeled and they exist in believable 3-D space. Impressionism

Edgar Degas, The Glass of Absinthe, 1876

Absinthe is a highly addictive alcoholic drink.

• The pitiful woman slumps over her drink •the low light casts ominous shadows behind the figures •the zig-zag composition makes the eye restless. The front table juts into the viewer’s space •The use of diagonal compositions to suggest negative emotions was common in Japanese prints, which Degas studied. • Degas did not adopt the gay scenes and bright colors of the other Impressionists Impressionism

Edgar Degas, The Tub, 1886, pastel

• Radical composition. The viewer looks over a table top. • The initial contour lines of the objects are left visible. The outlines flatten the objects against their background •The contour lines are in-filled with scratchy color. The strokes of color are left unblended to sit on the surface, emphasizing the flatness of the drawing • The is conflated. The objects are tipped up toward the viewer Impressionism , Arrival of the Train, Gare St. Lazare, 1877 Impressionism Claude Monet, Impression Sunrise, 1872 Impressionism Claude Monet, Luncheon, 1874 Impressionism Claude Monet, Rouen Cathedral: The Portal (Sun), 1894 Impressionism Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Le Moulin de la Galette (the pancake mill), 1876 Impressionism Edgar Dégas, The Ballet Class, 1879 Impressionism Edgar Dégas, Viscount Lepic and his daughters, 1873 Impressionism Edgar Dégas, Ballet Rehearsal (Adagio), 1876 Impressionism

Edgar Dégas,The Morning Bath, 1883 compare with: Suzuki Haranobu, The Evening Glow of the Ando, 1766 Impressionism , The Bath, 1892 Mary Cassatt, The Boating Party, 1893 Impressionism Impressionism

compare with photo: hippolyte Jouvin, Pont Neuf, c. 1860

Camille Pissarro, Place du Français, 1895 , Paris: A Rainy Day, 1877 Impressionism James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Nocturne in Blue and Gold, 1877 Impressionism Moving beyond Impressionism: The last Impressionist show, 1886

Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on la Grande Jatte, 1884-1886

• The sunny colors and gay subject of this painting is Impressionist in spirit • However, the painstaking technique is the antithesis of a quick “impression” • Small dots of pure color are applied with the theory that the eye will mix them. This is called “” • Seurat left his dots large, so the effect is grainy or like a mosaic • The figures are immobile and frozen in time. Most are strictly profile or frontal, in the manner of Egyptian art • The unmoving figures recall Piero della Francesca • The figures are precisely and mechanically spaced. Few overlap. • The mechanical production of the painting (Pointillism) reflects the methodical placement and pose of the figures • This precision seems to be the antithesis of Impressionism. Post Impressionism

What is Post-Impressionism? hyperlink: Sister Wendy Impression of light (3), 10 min • Post-Impressionism is art produced after the last Impressionist show (1886) • There is not a single style that can be called Post-Impressionist • Some Post Impressionists exhibited as “The Society of the Independents” Gauguin, Van Gogh, Church at Auvers, 1890

hyperlink: Van Gogh, Private life of a masterpiece, 12 min

Van Gogh, Self Van Gogh, Sunflowers Post Impressionism

Paul Cezanne,Still life with Compotier, 1879-1882

•Cezanne gave importance to everyday objects. He elevated the apple to a subject worthy of art. • The brushstrokes are uniform in length and width. This unifies the composition • The perspective is conflated. The table is tipped up so we can see what’s on it • The spherical outlines of the apples are left visible. • The outlines emphasize what Cezanne believed every shape in the natural world was made of: spheres, cones and cylinders

hyperlink: Cezanne, Post Impressionists, 12 min Post Impressionism Cezanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire, 1902-1904

detail Post Impressionism

Vincent Van Gogh, Self-Portrait, 1889

• VanGogh’s emaciated face reflects his tortured existence. • Van Gogh sought to create “something of the eternal which the halo used to symbolize”

hyperlink: The Power of Art—Van Gogh, 59 min Post Impressionism

Vincent Van Gogh, Wheat Field and Cypress Trees, (St. Remy) 1889

• Van Gogh’s Wheat Field is full of Expressionistic qualities • The field is not simply a field- -it is alive with movement and life. The wind blows through the stalks and turns it into a stormy yellow sea • The sky undulates in the wind • The cypress trees rise from the ground like the flaming tongues of a fire

The Cypress trees reminded van Gogh of Egyptian obselisks. Post Impressionism Vincent Van Gogh, Japonaiserie: Flowering Plum Tree, 1887

• reflects VanGogh’s interest in Japanese ukiyo-e prints (colorful wood block prints), and the Impressionist’s general fascination with Japanese prints

• this painting was closely modeled on same subject by Hisoshige

• characteristics of wood block prints: -ordinary subject matter -cropped compositions -unusual perspectives -flat areas of color (no shadowing) -decorative patterning Vincent Van Gogh, The Sower, 1888 Post Impressionism Vincent Van Gogh, Starry Night, 1889 Post Impressionism Vincent Van Gogh, The Night Café, 1888 Post Impressionism Post Impressionism

Paul Gauguin, (Jacob wrestling an angel), 1888

• Gauguin was disillusioned with what he called the spiritual bankruptcy of Western Civilization • Gauguin left Paris to live among the simple peasants in • Religion was still a part of the everyday life of the peasants • Gauguin was influenced by artists that worked in a style similar to cloisonné metalwork or stained glass. The flat simplified shapes and bright unreal colors are outlined in black. • There is little modeling and little attempt at perspective. The style is closer to primitive art or folk art. For Gauguin, this was an important part of his rejection of Western culture and its art based on classical forms. Post Impressionism

Paul Gauguin, Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?, 1897

Gauguin left for Tahiti in 1890. He was seeking an unspoiled Eden.

• The subject is an epic cycle of life • The sleeping girl (left) becomes a Tahitian Eve (center) and then becomes the old woman picking fruit (rear, right) • The Maori god oversees the action and acts as the demon of death • Gauguin rejected classical art and Western civilization. He tried to find inspiration in Eastern art. Post Impressionism

Paul Gauguin, Day of the God (), 1894 Paul Gauguin, Spirit of the Dead Watching (Manao Tupapau), 1892 Post Impressionism this is TL Post Impressionism

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, At the Moulin Rouge, 1893-1895

• Toulouse-Lautrec was an alcoholic who frequented bars and brothels • His subjects were the decadent world of Paris • The zig-zag composition recalls Degas, who TL admired. The zig- zag composition is used to express negative emotion in Japanese prints. • The diagonals make the composition uncomfortable. The green woman’s face is morbid and cropped. • The strange lighting gives an eerie effect. Toulouse-Lautrec paints the bar life as nightmarish and evil.

hyperlink: Toulouse-Lautrec and Jane Avril at the Moulin Rouge, 4 min