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)
Smaller Groupings

Clusters of Impressionist artists exhibit along with non-Impressionists: Pissarro and Bracquemond with Redon; Alonet with Rodin. Works by Cezanne, Manet, Monet and Pissarro are shown at the Centennial Exhibition of French Art, but Degas and Renoir stand aloof.


23rd Durand-Ruel holds an exhibition of the newly formed Societe des Peintres-Graveurs (a group organized by Durand-Ruel to take advantage of the growing fashion for collecting prints and engravings). It includes works by Bracquemond, Pissarro and Odilon Redon.

6th Cezanne, Gauguin, Monet, Pissarro and Signac exhibit at the avant-garde society Les Vingt in Brussels.

20th Monet has an exhibition at Boussod & Valadon's Gallery in Montmartre.

Monet paints at Fresselines, on the River Greuse, where he stays until May.


2nd Goupil's gallery in London shows 'Twenty Impressions by Claude Monet'. They are, unexpectedly, well received by the British press.

5th Durand-Ruel buys Blue Dancer from Degas for 500 francs and Red Dancer for 250 francs.

The Rehearsal of the Ballet on the Stage
с. 1874

This is one of three very similar works by Degas, all painted around 1874, that show a ballet rehearsal on stage. In this version an ink underdrawing was covered with watercolour, built up with opaque layers of essence and, finally, oil paint. The resulting tones are particularly effective in suggesting the artificial stage lighting.

The Rehearsal of the Ballet on the Stage was included in the sale of Henry Hill's collection in 1889, and was purchased by Sickert for his wife, Ellen. It changed hands a number of times during the next few years and was eventually bought by Mrs Havcmeyer in 1902.

24th Renoir tells Dr Gachet that his health is improving and he is hoping to see him in Auvers after a visit to his brother in Villeneuve. Renoir and Degas refuse to participate in the Centennial Exhibition of French Art, which is being organized to coincide with the Universal Exhibition. Renoir writes to Roger Marx: 'Everything that I have done is bad and it would cause me a great deal of pain to see it exhibited.'


3rd Van Gogh is admitted to the Asylum of Saint Paul at St-Remy-de-Provence, near Aries.

12th Pissarro's mother dies. He inherits nothing.

25th The collection of paintings belonging to Henry Hill of Brighton is sold at Christie's in London. Six works by Degas go for around 60 guineas each, although the Scottish collector Alexander Reid pays 180 for The Absinthe Drinker. Sickert purchases The Rehearsal of the Ballet on the Stage at the auction, and later buys three more works by Degas from Durand-Ruel.


5th The Centennial Exhibition of French Art, at the Universal Exhibition, includes works by Cezanne, Manet, Monet and Pissarro.

A photograph of the Greek Pavilion at the Universal Exhibition of 1889.

8th An exhibition organized by Gauguin, described as 'Paintings of the Impressionist and Synthetist Group', opens at the Cafe Volpini, near the Universal Exhibition. It includes works by Augustin, Bernard, Gauguin, Laval and Schuffenecker.

21st An exhibition of works by Monet and Rodin opens at Georges Petit's gallery. Of the 145 works by Monet, only six are for sale. Many visitors to the Universal Exhibition, however, are exposed to Monet's work for the first time and his popularity is enhanced. In L'Art moderne, Octave Maus states that 'Nature has never been rendered with more intensity and truth.' Other reviews are no less enthusiastic.

The Eiffel Tower

A symbol of progress and French self-confidence,
the Eiffel Tower was the most significant product
of the Universal Exhibition.


Monet starts a collection in order to raise 20,000 francs to buy Manet's Olympia for the nation.

10th Degas' sister Marguerite Fevre and her family sail from Le Havre for Buenos Aires.


8th Renoir writes to Monet refusing to contribute to the Olympia fund. (He later relents and sends 50 francs.)


5th Degas, accompanied by the Italian portrait painter Giovanni Boldini, arrives in Madrid, then goes on to Andalusia.

18th Degas visits Tangier, before returning to Paris via Cadiz and Granada.

A caricature of the 'Synthetists' by Emile Bernard, showing Schuffenecker,
the artist and Gauguin. The words 'Un cauchemar' (a nightmare) appear at the bottom.


30th The Society of the Friends of Art in Copenhagen holds an exhibition entitled 'Scandinavian and French Impressionists', which includes works by Cassatt, Cezanne, Degas, Guillaumin, Pissarro and Sisley.

Pissarro completes an album of political drawings, entitled Turpitudes societies, paying tribute to the anarchist movement and deploring the condition of the working classes. An exhibition of work by British 'Impressionists', including Steer and Sickert, opens at Goupil's gallery in London.

The cover of the album Turpitudes soaales. Compiled by Pissarro for his British niece Esther Isaacson, the album gave examples of social injustice. It was never published.

An anarchist sketch by Pissarro entitled Capital (1889).

Monet's letters to his future wife, Alice Hoschede , are touching in their display of affection, and revealing in their account of the constant problems that beset the production of his seemingly spontaneous and joyous paintings. The following extracts are taken from letters written to her during the spring of 1889 when he was working on his Valley of the Creuse series at Fresselines in the Massif Central:

Ravine of the Petite Creuse

Deeply impressed by the landscape of the Massif Central, Monet spent several weeks in the small town of Fresselines, painting the rocky gorges of the two rivers the Grande Creuse and the Petite Creuse. Of the twenty-four paintings he produced there, five were included in his exhibition in June, held at Georges Petit's gallery.
March 9th

I'm back from work; a bad session, and I wiped out everything I did this morning. It wasn't well expressed, and I hadn't got the feeling of it. It's always like this to start with. I worked better yesterday. On top of all this, the weather has been very changeable today; grey skies and sunshine.

Forgive me for not writing to you at greater length today. It will soon be midday, and I must see about
sendingyour letter off. Till tomorrow. Kisses to the children. Best wishes to Marthe. All my love and tenderness to you.

March 22nd

I'm utterly desolate. Snow came this morning, accompanied by wind, and a glacial coldness. What a curse!
I was a bit more content with myself last night, despite the rain, or perhaps because of it, since both paintings had a gloomy look about them which I couldn't quite get right.

Anyway, they were coming along well, and I was buoyed up with the highest hopes for today; but what am I going to do about this snow, which is settling enough to be a nuisance, but not enough to paint it? Still, if it persists after lunch I'll have a go at something.

But troubles never cease; the struggle is endless.

March 31st

As I said last night, work has been going much better these last few days, and I'm beginning to think that I might have some interesting work to bring back with me. By looking hard I've really entered into the spirit of the countryside. I understand it now, and have a clearer idea of what to do with it.

The most recent work I had to start on when the weather changed is much better than the early paintings and less hesitant; in the end it's the result of a great deal of effort.
Your old Claude, who loves you tenderly.

April 4th

So, with this damnable weather, which is too awful for words, progress is slow, and the sight of my paintings terrifies me; they're so dark, moreover several are sky less. It will be a gloomy series. A few have some sunlight in them, but they were started so long ago that I'm very much afraid that when the sun finally re-emerges I shall find my efforts considerably altered. Apart from this, the Creuse is bound to rise with all the rain we're having now, and it will change colour, so I live in a state of continual suspense, and I'll have to consider myself fortunate if I can manage to bring off a quarter of the canvases I've begun.

April 17th

Briefly, yesterday was a very bad day and this morning was worse still; a painting which might have been very good is utterly spoilt, and I fear for the others. What's more, the weather is wearing me down, a terrible cold wind, which wouldn't have bothered me in the slightest if I'd captured my effect, but the endless succession of clouds and sunny intervals couldn't be worse, especially when I'm getting to the end. But the thing that is upsetting me most is that with the drought the Creuse is sinking visibly, and its colour is altering so radically that everything around it is transformed. In places where once the water fell in green torrents, all you see now is a brown bed. I'm desperate and don't know what to do, as this arid weather is here to stay. None of my paintings are right as they are, and I was counting on these last few days to rescue a good number of them; to give up now would mean that all my efforts have been wasted, but the struggle terrifies me. I am worn out, and longing to come home.
Advise me, comfort me.

May 8th

I'm going to offer 50 fanes to my landlord to see if I can have the oak tree's leaves removed. If I can't, I'm done for, since it appears in five paintings and plays a leading part in three; but I fear it won't do any good as he's an unfriendly old money bags, who has already tried to prevent access to one of his fields, and it was only because the priest intervened that I was able to continue going there.

May 9th

I'm overjoyed, having unexpectedly been granted permission to remove the leaves from my fine oak tree! It was quite a business bringing long enough ladders into the ravine. Anyway, it's done now, two men having worked on it since yesterday. Isn't it the final straw to be finishing a winter landscape at this time of year?
When Joris-Karl Huysmans' novel A Rebours was published in 1884 its advocacy of uninhibited hedonism created a sensation. As a result, it became one of the seminal works of the Decadent movement in art and literature, which numbered among its enthusiasts Aubrey Beardsley and Oscar Wilde. In addition to being a novelist, Huysmans was a prolific art critic (and also a full-time civil servant), his first collection of criticism, L'Art moderne, appearing in 1883. This was followed in 1889 by a second collection, Certains, which included the following praise for Cezanne, who was then still largely disregarded:
Seen in a bright light, in porcelain compotes or on a white tablecloth, coarse pears and apples, shaped with a trowel, emphasized with a twist of the thumb. Seen close to, they appear to be a rough mixture of vermilion and yellow, of green and blue, but viewed from a distance... they become fruits of the kind that can be found in the window of a high-class fruit merchant, full-flavoured, savoury, enticing.

Truths until then unnoticed become apparent: strange and true tones, convincing splashes of colour, the shading on the tablecloth, vassals of the shadows spreading from the curves of the fruits, scattered in vague and charming traceries of blue - which make these canvases works that initiate us into mysteries, in contrast to the usual still lifes one sees, caked with bitumen, against unintelligible backgrounds.

Then there are sketches of landscape, done in the open air: some remain unfinished, in limbo; some are fresh sketches spoiled by retouching; childish and savage sketches. And finally there are stupefying distortions in drunken pottery, nude bathers, delineated by insane but entrancing lines, for the gratification of the eye, done with the energy of a Delacroix but without the refinement of vision and the skillful fingers, whipped on by a fever of confused colours, clashing in relief on the overburdened canvas that bends in defeat.

In conclusion, a colourist of revealing powers, who contributed more than Manet to the Impressionist movement, an artist with diseased retinas who, in the exasperated distortions of his sight, discovered the beginnings of a new art - that is how the too often disregarded painter, Cezanne, can be summed up.

Still Life with Compotier

Corresponding almost exactly to Huysman's description of a Cezanne still life in Certains, this is one of the most formal of the artist's works in this genre. The objects are paired and centred, from the fruit to the foliate pattern on the wall, but the colours establish a different pairing, which creates a competing axis.