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)
The End of an Era

Despite problems with customs, the New York Impressionist show goes ahead, opening a month before the eighth and last group exhibition in Paris. Sadly, there is a great deal of acrimony among the artists — not least over the inclusion of the 'Neo-Impressionists' Seurat and Signac.

The New English Art Club is formed in London for artists with Impressionist leanings (founders include Clausen, Sargent and Steer).

1st Morisot visits Renoir and admires his new style.

7th Degas visits Naples in connection with family affairs.


8th Through Durand-Ruel, Monet, Renoir and Redon send about eight works each to an exhibition staged by the avant-garde organization Les Vingt in Brussels.
Degas is invited to exhibit, but declines.
Durand-Ruel buys his last painting from Sisley.

20th Van Gogh arrives in Paris and stays with his brother Theo.

View of Montmartre

Painted when he was 33, shortly after his arrival in Paris, this work shows the extent to which van Gogh's contact with the Impressionists, especially Pissarro, lightened his palette and gave his work a sense of space that it had not possessed before.

Pissarro starts to work in Pointillist style. When he tells Degas that Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is 'very interesting', Degas replies 'It's certainly very big.'

23rd Durand-Ruel enters forty-three cases at the New York Customs House, containing some three hundred pictures valued at $81,799, which he has sent in preparation for his first exhibition in the USA. Monet paints at Etretat.

Gauguin finds work as a billposter at 5 francs an hour. He urgently needs money as his son Clovis is ill.

1st Publication of Zola's novel L'Oeuvre, about the Parisian art world.
The central character, based mainly on Cezanne and partly on Manet, causes great offence in Impressionist circles.

3rd Cezanne writes his last letter to Zola.

10th Durand-Ruel's exhibition of 'Works in oil and pastel by the Impressionists of Paris' opens at Moore's American Art Galleries, 290 Fifth Avenue, New York. The catalogue (which confuses Monet with Manet) includes an introduction by Duret and extracts from favourable reviews in various French and English papers.

14th Pissarro's first Pointillist paintings are displayed at Closet's gallery in the rue de Chateaudun.

15th Monet goes to Holland at the invitation of the Secretary to the French Embassy in The Hague. He spends a
fortnight painting in the tulip fields.

17th Degas and Cassatt give each other one of their own works.

28th Cezanne marries Hortense Fiquet in Aix-en-Provence and legitimizes their son Paul.


15th The eighth Impressionist exhibition opens at I rue Lafitte.

20th Pissarro, Seurat, Gauguin and others hold adinner to celebrate the exhibition.

Breton Girl

This study in pastel for his painting The Four Breton Girls was executed during Gauguin's first visit to Pont-Aven.


6th Opening of the fifth International Exhibition at Georges Petit's gallery.

It includes works by Monet, Renoir and Rodin.

A poster for the eighth Impressionist exhibition.

8th Berthe Morisot and her husband holiday on the Isle of Wight.

16th Mirbeau publishes a laudatory article on Renoir in Le Gaulois.

25th Durand-Ruel's New York exhibition moves to the National Academy of Design - with additional pictures, thirteen of them lent by American collectors, including the Havemeyers.

28th Gauguin makes his first visit to Pont-Aven in Brittany.


8th Durand-Ruel sees the new 'classical-style' Renoirs at Georges Petit's gallery and says he doesn't like them at all.


3rd Opening of the Salon des Independants.

The exhibition (the second held by the Societe des Artistes Independants) includes works by Pissarro, Seurat, Signac and Douanier Rousseau. 10th Renoir goes to La Chapelle-St-Briac in Brittany, where he rents a house for two months.

Van Gogh starts studying at the studio of the academic painter Fernand Cormon, where he meets Toulouse-Lautrec.

Photograph of Cormon's atelier.
Toulouse-Lautrec (at the front, extreme left)
is among the students.

4th Monet goes to stay with Octave Mirbeau in Noirmoutiers. On the way there he paints on Belle-Ile, off the coast of Brittany.


17th The anarchistic Exposition des Arts Incoherents opens at the Eden Theatre in Montmartre. The participants use
pseudonyms, and Toulouse-Lautrec exhibits a painting entitled Les Batignolles З 1/2 BC satirizing the Impressionists.

The front cover of the March 1887
edition of the satirical magazine Le Mirliton.
The illustration is Toulouse-Lautrec's The Last Farewell.

23rd Cezanne's father dies, leaving him a large sum of money.

25th Van Gogh admires a 'marvellous Degas' at the branch of Boussod & Valadon managed by his brother Theo.

28th Renoir moves to 35 boulevard Rochechouart.


5th Degas and Gauguin are reconciled. The latter distances himself from Pissarro, his former mentor.

25th Gauguin meets Vincent van Gogh at Theo's gallery.


Gauguin has to go into hospital.
A Whistler exhibition opens at Georges Petit's gallery.

3rd Pissarro, Seurat and Signac exhibit at Martinet's gallery in the boulevard des Italiens.

14th Toulouse-Lautrec invites van Gogh to Aristide Bruant's cabaret, Le Mirliton, to see his work displayed there.

The eighth Impressionist exhibition (described in the catalogue simply as 'Exposition de peinture par...') was held from May 15th to June 15th on the second floor of the Maison Doree, a well-known restaurant at the corner of the rue Lafitte and the boulevard des Italiens.

Degas wrote to Felix Bracquemond early in May : 'We are opening on the 15th. Everything is being done at once! You know that we uphold the condition not to send anything to the Salon. You do not fulfil this condition, but how about your wife? Monet, Renoir, Caillebotte and Sisley have not answered the call. Expenses are covered through an arrangement which I have no time to explain. In case entrance fees do not cover these expenses, we'll pass the hat round among the exhibitors. The premises are not as large as they should be, but are admirably situated... the Jablochkof Company is proposing to install electric lighting for us.'

In the Dining Room

This evocative painting is set in Morisot's dining room at her home in the rue Villejust. The pose of the maid, seemingly interrupted in the middle of her chores, the open cupboard door and the lively little dog in the corner all contribute to the work's sense of immediacy. Also, the tiered view — from the doorway, through the room to the landscape background outside the window — makes it one of Morisot's most spatially complex paintings.

There were 246 works on show, and exhibitors included Marie Bracquemond, Cassatt, Degas, Forain, Gauguin, Guillaumin, Morisot, Gamille and Lucien Pissarro, Odilon Redon, Rouart, Schuffenecker, Seurat, Signac, Tillot, Vignon and Zandomeneghi. There was also a Gomtesse de Rambure, of whom Felix Feneon acidly remarked 'the catalogue does not dare to mention her works.'

Preliminary discussions had started in October, and had been marked by even more acrimony than usual. When was the exhibition to be held? Were Seurat and Signac to be admitted? (This problem was solved by assigning them a room of their own.) Was Gauguin's friend Schuffenecker, who had participated in the first exhibition of the Independants, to be admitted?

View from my Window
1886 (reworked 1888)

Pissarro's use of pointillist technique is evident in this painting, both in the broken, 'dotted' brushwork and in his use of complementary colours to depict the light of the sky.

From the start, it was clear that this was the end of Impressionism in the sense of the movement that had begun in 1874. The guiding spirits of the exhibition were Degas and Pissarro, who by his own conversion to a somewhat diluted form of Pointillism, as well as his insistence on admitting Seurat, Signac and Lucien Pissarro, was making the point that there was a viable successor to the original movement.

The critics — indeed, art opinion generally — concentrated on two aspects of the exhibition. The first was Degas' pastels showing women engaged in activities such as washing or dressing. Typically, detailed analysis of their surroundings — cheap furniture and metal bathtubs etc. — was combined with comments on their physical ugliness ('distressing and lamentable poems about flesh', 'frog-like appearances', 'stout women with swollen flesh, who rest their hands on their buttocks'), culminating in the accusation that Degas was 'a ferocious misogynist' who wilfully debased women, reducing them to 'animal and nearly monkey-like functions'.

Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

In this work Seurat perfected his pointillist technique of applying small points of pure pigment over a layer of fine paint. Its hues and tones, produced by an optical rather than a physical mixture of the paints, had an unprecedented freshness, particularly suited to a scene with strong colours and pronounced contrasts of light and shade.
Although Seurat based this work on sketches done en plan air, he eliminated non-essentials to produce a monumental canvas, entirely devoid of the spontaneity of Impressionist painting.

The other focus of comment was Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, which dominated the exhibition by virtue of its size, its technique and its subject matter. It did not arouse quite so much derision as might have been expected, for it clearly involved a great deal of diligent application - invariably one of the criteria by which the public judged a work of art. A number of reviewers drew attention to the revolutionary qualities apparent in Seurat's representation of all classes of society, including workers, nursemaids and soldiers. But there was also a realization that here was the foundation of a new 'scientific' movement that would dispense with the bravura and individualism of Impressionism. Here, it seemed, was an art which was not fragmentary and did not depend on instinctive and haphazard responses to nature.

The Railroad

Manet is likely to have been attracted by the Gare St-Lazare when living nearby at 4 rue de St-Petersbourg. Typically, he did not focus on the industrial aspects of the station, but on a figurative scene.
The woman is Victorine Meurent, who ten years earlier posed for Olympia, and the girl is the daughter of his friend and neighbour Alphonse Hirsch.
Victorine Louise Meurent
Victorine Louise Meurent (February 18, 1844 – March 17, 1927) was a French painter and a famous model for painters. Although she is best-known nowadays as the favourite model of Édouard Manet, she was also an artist in her own right who regularly exhibited at the prestigious Paris Salon. In 1876 her paintings were selected for inclusion at the Salon's juried exhibition, when Manet's work was not.

Victorine Meurent, c. 1865, album of portraits belonging to Édouard Manet (BNF, France).
Born in Paris to a family of artisans (her father was a patinator of bronzes, while her mother was a milliner), Meurent started modeling at the age of sixteen in the studio of Thomas Couture and may also have studied art at his women's atelier. She first worked for Manet in 1862, posing for a painting entitled The Street Singer. Manet was first drawn to Meurent when he saw her in the street, carrying her guitar. She was particularly noticeable for her petite stature, which earned her the nickname La Crevette (The Shrimp), and for her red hair, which is depicted as very bright in Manet's watercolor copy of Olympia. As well as playing the guitar, Meurent also played the violin, gave lessons in the two instruments, and sang in café-concerts.

Meurent's name remains forever associated with Manet's masterpieces of 1863, The Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia, which include nude portrayals of her. At that time she also modeled for Edgar Degas and the Belgian painter Alfred Stevens, both close friends of Manet. Her relationship with Stevens is said to have been particularly close.

Manet continued to use Victorine Meurent as a model until the early 1870s, when she began taking art classes and they became estranged, as she was drawn to the more academic style of painting against which Manet's work was in opposition.[citation needed] The last Manet painting in which Meurent appears is Gare Saint-Lazare, painted in 1873, which is often referred to as The Railway. The painting is considered the best example of Manet's use of contemporary subject-matter.

Three years later, Meurent first presented work of her own at the 1876 Salon and her work was accepted. Ironically, Manet's own submissions were rejected by the jury that year. Bourgeoise de Nuremberg au XVIe siècle, Meurent's entry at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1879, was hung in the same room as the entry by Manet. Work by Meurent also was included in the 1885 and 1904 exhibitions. In all, Meurent exhibited in the Salon six times.

She also continued to support herself by modelling through the 1880s for Norbert Goeneutte, an artist best-known for his etchings today, and for Toulouse-Lautrec who took to introducing her as Olympia.

Meurent was inducted into the Société des Artistes Français in 1903, with the support of Charles Hermann-Leon and Tony Robert-Fleury, the Société's founder. By 1906 Meurent had left Paris for the suburb of Colombes, where she lived with a woman named Marie Dufour for the remainder of her life. The two appear to have shared ownership of their house. In her eighties she continued to refer to herself as an artist, as recorded in a census from that time. Meurent died on March 17, 1927. After the death of Dufour in 1930, the contents of the house were liquidated; in the late twentieth century, elderly neighbours recalled the last contents of the house, including a violin and its case, being burnt on a bonfire.

A painting by Meurent, Le Jour des Rameaux or Palm Sunday was recovered in 2004 and now hangs in the Colombes History Museum.

Meurent in fiction
Victorine Meurent's life has inspired two historical novels, and she appears as a character in several others.

The Irish writer George Moore included Meurent as a character in his semi-fictional autobiography, Memoirs of My Dead Life (1906). She appears as a middle-aged woman past her prime, living in a lesbian relationship with a famous courtesan.

Meurent is the protagonist of both Mademoiselle Victorine: a Novel (2007) by Debra Finerman and A Woman With No Clothes On (2008) by V R Main.

She also appears in the film Intimate Lives: The Women of Manet, aka Manet in Love (1998), played by Shelley Phillips, and most recently in Christopher Moore's novel Sacré Bleu (2012).

Meurent in Manet's works

Victorine Meurent


Street Singer
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Mlle. Victorine in the Costume of a Matador
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe (detail)
Musée d'Orsay

Olympia (detail)
Musée d'Orsay

Woman with Parrot
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Durand-Ruel's first American exhibition opened at Moore's American Art Galleries in New York on April 1 Oth, then moved to the National Academy of Design in June. The exhibition included forty-eight works by Monet, forty-two by Pissarro, thirty-eight by Renoir, twenty-three by Degas, seventeen by Manet, fifteen by Sisley, three by Seurat, and several by Gaillebotte, Gassatt and Morisot. Among the most important were: Degas' The Singer in Green (c.1884); Manet's The Absinthe Drinker (1858-9), The Balcony and The Railroad; Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party and Dance at Bougival; Morisot's La Toilette (c. 1875); and Seurat's Bathing at Asnures. One of the few favourable reviews of the exhibition appeared in the June issue of Cosmopolitan. Written by Luther Hamilton, it was short on the specific and long on the generalized, but it did try to identify the special characteristics of the movement:
The Impressionists believe in the possibility of making closer approximations to many appearances in nature than have been in vogue, and even in the possibility of approximating in the symbolism of painting phases of nature that have not hitherto been attempted.

On these theories, one of them paints, say a man rowing on a lake, aiming to give the impression of the broken reflections produced by his oars, and, perhaps, doing it wonderfully; but between the painter and the observer there must be generally lacking that common understanding before referred to. The approximation may be far closer than in various ambitious portrayals of Niagara Falls with which the observer is familiar. But long experience has taught him that certain woolly appearances do nominally represent Niagara Falls, while the yellow splashes of paint suggesting the broken reflections he sees in all their nakedness as yellow splashes of paint.

Moreover, the tendency is not even to compare the new approximation with nature, but with other and different pictures, the measure of the nearness being also the measure of the condemnation meted out.

One of the greatest stumbling-blocks in the Impressionist work, as shown here, was the prevalence of violet shadows. In considering this, it must be remembered that there are more violets in the shadows in many parts of France than in this country; also the violet in out-of-doors pictures greatly brightens the effect of the yellow sunshine, and to give any impression of light and brilliancy, in the least suggesting of nature's, is always the painter's most impossible problem. The Impressionists, with their violet shadows, have made by far the closest approximation we have yet had. We can well afford to take the little exaggeration, or even falsity, for the sake of the far larger and more important truth thus attained.