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Impressionist Oil Painting

Impressionist art is a style in which the artist captures the image of an object as someone would see it if they just caught a glimpse of it. They paint the pictures with a lot of color and most of their pictures are outdoor scenes. Their pictures are very bright and vibrant. The artists like to capture their images without detail but with bold colors. Impressionism is a movement in French painting, sometimes called optical realism because of its almost scientific interest in the actual visual experience and effect of light and movement on appearance of objects. The name 'Impressionists' came as artists embraced the nickname a conservative critic used to ridicule the whole movement in France. The painting 'Impression: Sunrise' by Claude Monet gave rise to a derogatory term. The art critic and humorist Louis Leroy wrote a derisive review in the Le Charivari newspaper in which, punning with the title of Claude Monet's 'Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant)', he gave the artists the name by which they would become known. Sarcastically giving his article the title, 'The Exhibition of the Impressionists', Leroy declared Monet's painting as sketchy, and went on to affirm that it was unfinished.

In the form of a dialog between viewers, his article mocked,

Impression — I was certain of it. I was just telling myself that, since I was impressed, there had to be some impression in it … and what freedom, what ease of workmanship! Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than that seascape.

The term "Impressionists" quickly gained favor with the public. Even the artists themselves did no mind the 'derogatory' reference despite their diversity in terms of style and character. Their spirit of independence and rebellion unified them. They held exhibitions together even though they at times had heated debates amongst themselves between 1874 and 1886. The impressionist oil paint artists in France were; Eduard Manet Claude Monet Pierre Auguste Renoir , Alfred Sisley , Edgar Degas , Camille Pissarro , Berthe Morisot ,Armand Guillaumin and Frédéric Bazille. There were also the American impressionist oil painters such as; Mary ,Francis Coates Jones ,John Singer Sargent, Frederick Carl Frieseke and Albert Henry Krehbiel These artists produced what are today great works of art. Impressionism would later become seminal to various movements in painting which would follow, including Neo-Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism. Examples of some neo-impressionist oil painters include;

Neo-Impressionists in France:

  • Georges-Pierre Seurat
  • Camille Pissarro
  • Paul Signac
  • Charles Angrand
  • Maximilien Luce
  • Henry Edmond Cross

Impressionists in Russia:

  • Constantin Korovin
  • Arkhip Kuinji
  • Nathan Altman
  • Isaac Levitan
  • Valentin Serov

Neo-Impressionists in Belgium:

  • Georges Lemmen
  • Theo Van Rysselberghe

The American Ten

  • Thomas E. Dewing
  • Edward E. Simmons
  • Julien Alden Weir
  • John Henry Twachtman
  • Joseph R. De Camp
  • Willard L. Metcalf
  • Childe Hassam
  • Frank Benson
  • Robert Reid
  • Edmund C. Tarbell

To ask what defines impressionist oil painting is to seek the answer to a question with numerous and undeniably complex answers. Many artists do work in a style that is reminiscent of the brushwork of the French artists' active in the 19th century known as the Impressionists. While Impressionism had a great impact on the artists working in other countries, particularly in the United States, the art movement known as Impressionism is a traditionally French art movement based on the law of optics.



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