Impressionism Timeline  
  Impressionism * Neo-Impressionism * Post-Impressionism  

  1870 1880 1890
  1871 1881 1891
  1872 1882 1892
1863 1873 1883 1893
1864 1874 1884 1894
1865 1875 1885 1895
1866 1876 1886 1896
1867 1877 1887 1897
1868 1878 1888 1898
1869 1879 1889 1899
Impressionism Timeline
Impressionism * Neo-Impressionism * Post-Impressionism
Camille Pissarro
Edouard Manet (1832-83) Edgar Degas (1834-1917) Alfred Sisley (1839-99)

Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)
Claude Monet (1840-1826) Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)

Frederic Bazille (1841-70)

Armand Guillaumin

Berthe Morisot (1841-95)

Federico Zandomeneghi (1841-1917)

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) Giuseppe de Nittis
Max Liebermann
Gustave Caillebotte (1848-94) Peder Severin Kroyer (1851-1909) Vincent van Gogh
Charles Angrand
Henri-Edmond Cross (1856-1910)

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)
Childe Hassam 

Georges Seurat (1859-91)
Louis Anquetin
(1861- 1932)
Theo van Rysselberghe (1862-1926) Paul Signac (1863-1935) Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Emile Bernard (1868-1941)
Gaining Ground
All the major Impressionist artists save for Manet are included in the second Impressionist exhibition, and an important newcomer is introduced - Gustave Caillebotte. His work steals the show and helps to make the second exhibition far more of a popular success than the first.

4th Cezanne takes his patron Victor Chocquet to meet Monet at Argenteuil.

Manet has two paintings, The Artist and Le Linge, rejected by the Salon and exhibits them, with others, at his studio.
Van Gogh is dismissed from Goupil's gallery. Sisley goes to live at Marly.

In London the dealer Emile Deschamps exhibits works by Degas, Manet, Morisot and Sisley.
Manet's In a Canoe is bitterly attacked by a reviewer in The Times, who feels the mode of execution is as unpleasant as the subject ('a singularly offensive couple'). The British collector Henry Hill visits the exhibition and buys four Degas dance pictures.
Van Gogh obtains a position as an assistant teacher in England at a school in Ramsgate (he subsequently moves to the Jones Methodist School in Isleworth, where he is also a lay preacher).

1st Opening of the second Impressionist exhibition at Durand-Ruel's gallery in rue Le Peletier.

Flood at Port-Marly

Of the eight landscapes that Sisley showed at the second Impressionist exhibition, three, including this work, depicted a flooded wine merchant's shop, as seen from the rue de Paris. Adolphe Tavernier, a critic, bought this version, and on the sale of his collection in 1900 it was acquired by Count Isaac dc Camondo for 43,000 francs, who gave it to the Louvre in 1908.

3rd The Salon opens.

Eva Gonzales as 'a student of Manet' is accepted, but Manet himself is rejected, as is Cezanne.
Gauguin starts buying works by Cezanne, Manet, Monet and Pissarro - largely as a result of meeting Pissarro, who helps him with his painting.

Duranty publishes La Mouvelle peinture - the first book devoted to Impressionism, though the word is never used. (The subtitle of the book is A propos du groupe des artistes qui expose dans les galeries Durand-Ruel.)

Portrait of Edmond Duranty

An active member of the Cafe Guerbois circle, Marcellin Desboutin was a talented engraver and a mediocre painter, who was the subject of Manet's The Artist (1875) and the male figure in Degas' The Absinthe Drinker of the following year. Edmond Duranty was one of the main critical exponents of Realism in art and literature and the author of Im Nouvelkpeinture (1876), written in defence of the Impressionists.

13th Henry James praises the Impressionists in the New York Tribune.
Strindberg, as a young visitor to Paris, sees the Impressionist exhibition and (as he later wrote to Gauguin) is greatly excited by it.

Degas goes to Naples to discuss the debts of his family's firm.
Monet's Impression: Sunrise - the work that prompted Leroy to coin the term Impressionism - sells at the Hotel Drouot for 210 francs.

Renoir starts to frequent the Moulin de la Galette, an open-air dancing establishment in Montmartre frequented by shop assistants.
Cezanne paints at L'Estaque near Marseilles.

Manet spends two weeks with the Hoschede family in Montgeron. After his departure Monet comes to stay with the family and paints decorative panels in the house, as well as several landscapes.


31st Degas assumes a major part of the responsibility for the debts incurred by the family firm.
Monet settles at 26 rue d'Edimbourg, near the Gare St-Lazare.

Renoir stays at Champrosay with Alphonse Daudet, the Realist novelist and playwright.

Degas' The Absinthe Drinker is exhibited in the winter exhibition at Brighton Museum under the title A Sketch in a
French Cafe

23rd Mallarme writes an article on 'The Impressionists and Edouard Manet' for the Art Monthly Review.

Georges Charpentier (the publisher of Daudet, Flaubert, the Goncourts, Maupassant and Zola) commissions Renoir to decorate his Paris home in the rue de Grenelle.
Pissarro starts to paint decorative tiles while staying with his friend Ludovic Piette at Montfoucault in Normandy.


3rd Caillebotte draws up a will providing money for an Impressionist exhibition to be held after his death and bequeathing his collection of Impressionist paintings to the State on condition that they should first be exhibited in a museum devoted to contemporary art and eventually in the Louvre.

The second Impressionist exhibition - entitled simply 'La Deuxieme Exposition de Peinture par..." was held at Durand-Ruel's gallery, 11 rue Le Peletier, from April 11th to May 9th.

Some of the exhibitors had no connection with the Impressionists, but there was one important newcomer, Gustave Gaillebotte, whose The Floor Strippers was one of the sensations of the show. Caillebotte had been introduced to the group by Monet and Renoir. He was extremely wealthy and supported most of the subsequent Impressionist exhibitions. Another notable supporter of the Impressionists, remarkable for his enthusiasm, was Renoir's new friend Victor Chocquet, who played an active part in promoting the exhibition and visited it every day, eagerly expounding the beauties of the paintings to anyone who would listen.

The Floor Strippers

Critics such as Edmond Duranty saw the sense of contemporary realism, which was often to be found in Impressionist works, as one of their greatest virtues. This quality was strikingly present in Caillebotte's remarkable picture of three men renovating the floor of his new apartment. The work did not appear in the exhibition catalogue.
There were 252 works shown, including twenty-four by Degas, eighteen by Monet, seventeen by Morisot, thirteen by Pissarro, fifteen by Renoir and eight by Sisley. Caillebotte apparently exhibited eight paintings, though they are not mentioned in the catalogue. There were also two works by Bazille, included as a memorial to the artist, who had been killed in November 1870 in a minor skirmish during the Franco-Prussian war. Monet's name and Sisley's were printed incorrectly in the catalogue as 'Monnet' and 'Sysley'.

Arranged by artists, the paintings which were 'easiest' to appreciate were hung in the front rooms and the more 'difficult' ones in the rooms at the back. Degas broke new ground by including photographs of paintings for sale that were not on show. The pictures that attracted most comment were Degas' Portraits in an Office and Monet's The Japanese Girl a huge portrait of a young woman dressed in a kimono. Although Monet later dismissed this painting as 'rubbish', it sold for the comparatively high price of 2000 francs.

Portraits in an Office

With its instantaneous veracity, this painting clearly reflects the influence of the camera. Set in a cotton market in New Orleans, Degas originally intended to send the work to Agnew, the Manchester art dealer, as he thought a 'wealthy spinner' might buy it. However, the planned negotiations with Agnew did not take place, and die work was eventually bought in 1878 by the Museum of Pau for 5000 francs.

The Japanese Girl

Throughout his life Monet was fascinated by all things Japanese, and at the time when this work was painted the style was particularly in demand. Intent on making a good impression at the Salon, the artist combined all the features that he thought might commend it to a fashionable audience. His wife Camille, in a blond wig, looks out provocatively at the spectator in a pose similar to those adopted by Japanese courtesans in popular prints. The Japanese Girl is imbued with a general sense of sexual innuendo, of the kind admired by devotees of Salon art.

The second Impressionist exhibition attracted wider review coverage than the first, and on the whole critical comment was slightly more favourable. Inevitably there were the usual vicious attacks from critics such as Albert Wolff, who described Renoir's Nude in the Sunlight ( as a 'mass of flesh in the process of decomposition, with green and violet spots which denote the state of complete putrefaction of a corpse.' Nevertheless; complimentary reviews appeared in left-wing papers such as Le Rappel, La Republique frangaise and La Presse. The English magazine The Academy carried a favourable review by Philippe Burty; and the New York Tribune published an appreciative, although ill-informed, article by the writer Henry James, which compared the Impressionists with the Pre-Raphaelites.

Although attendance figures do not seem to have been very high, the group was able to pay Durand-Ruel 3000 francs for renting the gallery. They were also able to repay the exhibitors the 1500 francs each had advanced, and in addition distributed a dividend of 3 francs.


Nude in the Sunlight

This work had a mixed reception when shown at the second Impressionist exhibition. Warmly praised by some critics, it aroused the venomous contempt of Albert WolfF, critic for Le Figaro, which damned it in the eyes of the contemporary public. Altogether a striking composition, the backgound emphasizes the remarkable rendering of the effect of dappled sunlight filtering through the foliage, with the light dissolving the outline of the girl's face. The model was Anna Leboeuf, who died at the age of 23.
The poet Stephane Mallarme (1842 98) became an active defender of the Impressionists. His apartment on the rue de Rome in the Batignolles Quarter acted as a lively centre of Parisian cultural life, and he enjoyed a close relationship with Degas, Manet and Renoir. This extract is from an article written in English for the Art Monthly Review in London:

Portrait of Stephane Mallarme

When Manet painted this portrait, Mallarme was 34, ten years his junior. The poet looked up to the painter, not only as a hero of the avant-garde, but also as a onetime friend of Baudelaire, whose works had so much influenced him. This work was painted in Manet's studio the Japanese-style hanging behind him is the same as that in Nana.
The search after truth, peculiar to modern artists, which enables them to see nature, and reproduce her, such as she appears to pure and just eyes, must lead them to adopt air almost exclusively as their medium, or at all events to work in it freely and without restraint; there should at least be in the revival of such a medium, if nothing more, an incentive to a new manner of painting. This is the result of our reasoning, and the end I wish to establish. As no artist has on his palette a transparent and neutral colour answering to open air, the desired effect can only be obtained by lightness or heaviness of touch, or by the regulation of tone. Now Manet and his school use simple colour, fresh, or lightly laid on, and their results seem to have been attained at the first stroke, so that the ever-present light blends with and vivifies all things. As to the details of the picture, nothing should be absolutely fixed in order that we may feel that the bright gleam which lights the picture, or the diaphanous shadow which veils it are only seen in passing, and just when the spectator beholds the represented, which being composed of a harmony of reflected and ever-changing lights, cannot be supposed always to look the same, but palpitates with movement, light, and life.

STEPHANE MALLARME, 'The Impressionists and Edouard Manet', Art Monthly Review and Photographic Portfolio, September 30th, 1876

Frontispiece by Manet to Mallarme's L'Apres-midi d'unfaune,