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)
Exotic Influences

A number of the younger generation of artists begin to widen their horizons, many looking to Japanese art, which is becoming increasingly popular through exhibitions held in Paris. Gauguin embarks upon a pilgrimage in search of the exotic, travelling as far as the Caribbean.

A 'collection of modern paintings selected during the last summer by Mr Durand-Ruel' is shown at Moore's American Art Galleries in New York.
Degas buys a copy of Eadweard Muybridge's book of photographs entitled Animal Locomotion.

25th Pissarro, who is in financial difficulties, sells a Degas pastel (given to him by the artist) for 1200 francs.

Vincent van Gogh organizes an exhibition of Japanese prints at the Cafe Tambourin.

The avant-garde organization Les Vingt holds an exhibition in Brussels that includes works by Pissarro, Rodin and Seurat.
A Millet retrospective opens at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

Tracing by van Gogh of a Japanese print,
from the cover of Pans Illustre, 1887.

7th Theo van Gogh begins to buy paintings from Monet for Boussod & Valadon's Montmartre gallery.

10th Gauguin embarks for Panama and Martinique.


8th The sixth International Exhibition opens at Georges Petit's gallery.

Monet, Pissarro, Renoir and Sisley are among the exhibitors.

25th Durand-RuePs second exhibition sponsored by the American Art Association opens at the National Academy of Design in New York. It includes works by Delacroix and Puvis de-Chavannes as well as Monet, Pissarro, Renoir and Sisley.


22nd Theo van Gogh buys Woman Seated by a Vase of Flowers from Degas for 4000 francs. (In the course of the next three years he is to buy some twenty-five works from him.)

Woman Seated by a Vase of Flowers (Woman with Chrysanthemums)

Despite its alternative title, the flowers in this painting include yellow and red sunflowers, gaillardia, marguerites, cornflowers and dahlias, with only a few chrysanthemums. The figure (Mine Valpincon) was added to what had been solely a still life, and the original date (1858) is still discernible.
Renoir goes to stay at Le Vesinet, near Pontoise.

13th Monet departs for a fortnight in London, where he stays with Whistler.

A major exhibition of Japanese art opens at the Union Centrale des Arts Decoratifs in Paris.
Renoir visits his friend Murer in Auvers-sur-Oise, where they are joined by Pissarro.

A Puvis de Chavannes exhibition opens at Durand-Ruel's gallery.

Gauguin returns from Martinique and goes to live with Schuffenecker, his former colleague at Bertin's stockbroking company, who is an amateur painter. He works on ceramics with Ernest Chapelet, a ceramist and porcelain painter trained at Sevres.

Gauguin's Vase in the Shape of a Head is an imaginative
exercise in stoneware, executed while he was working
with the porcelain painter Ernest Chapelet.
Theo van Gogh plans an exhibition of works by Gauguin, Guillaumin and Pissarro, to take place in 1888 at Boussod & Valadon's gallery.
Monet exhibits four paintings at the Royal Society of British Artists in London, thanks to Whistler, who is President of the society.
Works by Manet, Camille and Lucien Pissarro, Seurat and Signac are included in an exhibition at the offices of Feneon's La Revue independante.
Around this time the Impressionists started to hold dinners at the Cafe Riche in the boulevard des Italiens, and were to continue to do so well into the 1890s. One of those who attended was Gustave Geffroy, a journalist, novelist and critic, whose La Vie artistique, issued in eight volumes between 1892 and 1903, included a comprehensive history of Impressionism. In his book Claude Monet, sa vie, son temps, son auvre published in 1922, Geffroy described what the dinners were like:

They were evenings dedicated to gossip and conversation, in which the happenings of the day were discussed with that freedom of spirit peculiar to artists free from any contact with official organizations. It must be admitted that the Impressionists' table was very lively and noisy, and that, relaxing from the burden of work, they behaved rather like children just let out of school. The discussions sometimes got quite heated, especially between Renoir and Caillebotte.

The former - nervous and sarcastic, with his mocking voice and a kind of Mephistopheleanism that showed with an irony and a strange mirth in his face, already ravaged by illness - took a mischievous delight in taunting Caillebotte, a choleric and irascible man, whose face would change colour, from red to puce and even to black, whenever his opinions were contradicted by the sprightly flow of words which Renoir loved to employ against them. He would then display a fierceness that turned to anger, though that was harmless enough.



Caillebotte's self-portrait is one of the most revealing and perceptive of those produced by the Impressionists. Painted two years before his untimely death in 1894, it shows him at the age of 43.
The discussions covered not only art but politics, philosophy and every possible literary topic subjects that appealed to Caillebotte's enthusiasm, as he was a great reader of books, reviews and newspapers. Renoir kept abreast by buying an encyclopaedia, from which he culled arguments to floor Caillebotte.

Mirbeau would throw himself headlong into these intellectual combats, and was always listened to when he pronounced his considered judgments. Pissarro and Monet were also devotees of literature, both of them possessed of an assured and refined taste. I well remember a veritable duel, for and against Victor Hugo, that unleashed a spate of passion, ardour and wisdom -from which everybody emerged reconciled, to go and sit on the cafe terrace and contemplate the fairy-like appearance of Paris by night. On other occasions the arguments continued outside on the boulevard, and I'm sure some of them were never resolved.
Renoir's three-month tour of Italy in 1881 had been a revelation to him. In Italian art he -found a clarity of form, a precision of outline and a compositional skill that seemed just the qualities his own wrork lacked. He had, in fact, been unhappy with his work for some time and destroyed many of his paintings during this period, later confessing to VoUard that in the late 1880s he felt he had 'reached the end of Impressionism'; he had become averse to the depiction of the ephemeral, of the fleeting moment, and started to seek 'an art of the museums'.

This involved a far greater concentration on the relationship between drawing and painting, and resulted in a 'hardness' of outline that was expressed in its most spectacular form in The Bathers of 1887. His new approach was emphasized by the fact that he undertook a large number of preliminary drawings for the work, which was as carefully constructed as a Poussin or an academic painting. Indeed his main inspiration seems to have been a bas-relief at Versailles by the seventeenth-century sculptor Francois Girardon, and the monumental quality of the work was emphasized by its size - approximately 120x180cm (4x6ft). Moreover, as is apparent from some of Renoir's preliminary drawings, at one stage he thought of surrounding the painting with a decorative frame; and he first exhibited it, at the International Exhibition in May 1887, under the title Bathers: Trial for a Decorative Painting.

The Bathers

This large work was painted at the height of Renoir's 'classical period', during which he consciously developed his abilities as a draughtsman to achieve a more controlled linear effect in his canvases.
But it was not only in form and composition that Renoir's work altered. He had been impressed by the smooth texture and clear colours of Italian painting and sought to recapture these qualities. With this in mind, he adopted a new technique, first laying down a thin coat of white lead then applying his colours very thinly and with great care, to create a smooth enamel-like finish; in addition, he used restrained colours red and yellow ochre, dark green, and black. It could be said that all art alternates between the classical and the Romantic, between restraint and the prevalence of emotion. Renoir was going through his classical phase.

He was to persist in this phase for some three years, then abandoned it partly of his own volition and partly from necessity as nobody, with the possible exception of Monet, liked the new paintings. Indeed Durand-Ruel not only disliked them but thought they would be difficult to sell, since collectors tended to be conservative and, having been coaxed into an appreciation of Renoir's earlier work, might well be reluctant to accept a different style.
It was especially appropriate that the first Impressionist exhibition should have been held in a photographer's studio, for the camera was to have an important influence on the style and techniques of the movement. In the first place, it had provided images that could be copied. Manet based an etched portrait of Baudelaire on a photograph by Nadar, and one of Edgar Allan Рое on a daguerreotype. Monet's Women in the Garden, painted for Bazille in 1866-7, was based on two photographs taken at Bazille's home near Montpellier and, although Monet (who had four cameras) always stressed the advantages of painting en plein air, he certainly made use of photography for his series paintings, especially those of Rouen cathedral. Cezanne's self-portrait of 1866 was copied from a photograph, and in 1868 one of his friends wrote to another: 'Cezanne is planning a painting for which he will use some snaps. I have your photograph, and you will be in it.'

Women in the Garden

Two photographs taken at Bazille's home near Montpellier were the starting point for Women in the Garden. The painting was refused by the Salon of 1867 and later purchased by Bazille for 2500 francs.
More significant than the use of photography as a means of providing subjects to paint was the fact that it reinforced the Impressionists' concern with realism and what Degas called 'magical instantaneity'. It caught people in the act and, especially after the invention of the snapshot type of photograph in the 1880s, provided abruptly cut-off images, unusual perspectives, and views taken from a great height or from a window all of which gave an enhanced impression of immediacy. The critic Ernest Chesneau recognized this when, in 1874, he wrote of Monet's Boulevard des Capucines: 'Never has the amazing animation of the public thoroughfare, the ant-like swarming of the crowd on the pavement and the vehicles on the roadway, nor the elusive, fleeting nature and instantaneity of movement, been caught in its incredible flux and fixed as in this extraordinary picture.'

But the most notable instance of the influence of photography on the Impressionists occurred in 1887 when Degas bought a copy of Animal Locomotion by Eadweard Muybridge, whose work he had known about for some time. Muybridge had set out to establish whether a galloping horse had all four legs off the ground at any moment. After much experimentation, he evolved a system of cameras, each triggered by a trip wire activated by the movement of the animal, which enabled him to produce a series of photographs using techniques analogous to those of cinematography. Later he continued his exploration of movement with human beings and birds. His photographs greatly influenced many artists but especially Degas, who made use of Muybridge's discoveries in his drawings, paintings and sculptures of horses.