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)
Sisley's One-Man Show

This year Sisley finally begins to receive some recognition for his work. Georges Petit holds a one-man show for the artist at his gallery, and he travels to Britain on an all-expenses-paid trip, where he paints some twenty-five canvases. His prices improve too — a painting bought in 1887 for 150 francs sells this year for 2350 francs.

Pissarro begins a series of paintings of the Paris boulevards.

12th Monet goes to Pourville-sur-Mer on the Normandy coast, where he works till April, producing thirty paintings of the sea and cliffs - several of them featuring the custom house at Varengeville.

1st The collection of the jeweller Andre Vever is auctioned at Georges Petit's gallery; a Monet fetches 21,000 francs, a Degas 10,000 francs, a Sisley 2500 francs and a Pissarro 900 francs.

3rd Durand-Ruel sends eleven Impressionist paintings to an exhibition in Dresden.

5th Sisley has a one-man exhibition at Georges Petit's gallery. There are 146 paintings and five pastels on show, modestly priced at between 800 and 1500 francs, but the exhibition is not a great success.

7th The Caillebotte bequest is hung in an extension to the Musee du Luxembourg, where it is generally well received.

20th An Impressionist exhibition opens in Stockholm, mounted by Durand-Ruel at the instigation of the painter Prince Eugen of Sweden.


23rd Degas is reconciled with his brother Rene (with whom he had not been on speaking terms since 1876).

Monet begins a series of paintings of the Seine near Giverny. (He finishes thirty- by the end of the year, sometimes getting up at 3.30 a.m. to catch the dawn.; He exhibits at the second Venice Biennale.

7th Renoir exhibits at the New English Art Club in London.


10th Pissarro visits London — where he stays until July and paints a series of views of Bedford Park.

12th Sale of the collection belonging to Pierre Aubry, including a number of Impressionist works, mostly purchased from Theo van Gogh. Two paintings by Monet — Umbrella Pines, Cap d'Antibes (which Aubry had bought for 2800 francs) and Antibes, View of Sails (bought for the same price) - fetch 6300 francs and 7500 francs respectively. A Sisley, acquired for 150 francs in August 1887, goes for 2350 francs.


3rd Sisley and his family visit Britain, his expenses being met by the Rouen businessman and collector Francois Depeaux as advance payment for three paintings.

9th After spending several days painting in Falmouth, Sisley moves to the seaside resort of Penarth, near Cardiff, which he finds stimulating for his work.

Cardiff Roads

In May Sisley made his last trip to Britain. After touring London and the South of England he travelled to Penarth, near Cardiff. On July 16th he wrote to the critic Gustave Geffrey: 'The countryside is pretty, and the Roads [an area where ships can lie at anchor], with the big ships sailing into and out of Cardiff, is superb ...'
There are echoes in this painting of Monet's views of Cap d'Antibes. Sisley included the figures of his wife and daughter to add a human element.


5th Sisley marries Marie-Adelaide-Eugenie Lescouezec, with whom he has been living since 1866, at the Registry
Office in Cardiff.

10th Renoir falls off his bicycle in Essoyes and breaks his arm.

15th Degas spends several days in Montauban studying the works of Ingres in the museum there.


14th Julie Manet stays with Renoir in Essoyes, and he gives her advice on her paintings.


Sisley and his family return to Moret-sur-Loing, with some twenty-five canvases painted by him in England and Wales.

Gorge of the Petit Ailly (Varengeville)

Between 1896 and 1897 Monet produced more than fifty paintings of the scenery in and around Pourville-sur-Mer. The artist was especially attracted to the custom house at Varengeville, which perches precariously on the cliff, high above the sea.


7th The Nationalgalerie in Berlin buys one of Pissarro's paintings.

26th Pissarro's third son, Felix, dies of tuberculosis.

Murer has to sell his hotel in Rouen.

8th Degas introduces Julie Manet to Ernest Rouart, the son of his friend and patron Henri Rouart, who she is later to marry.

23rd Degas, who is vehemently anti-Dreyfus, breaks with the Halevy family over the Dreyfus affair and refuses to see them.
Pissarro ''Boulevard Montmartre'' cityscape series

Boulevard Montmartre ΰ Paris

Boulevard Montmartre, morning, cloudy weather


The Boulevard Montmartre on a Winter Morning


Le Boulevard de Montmartre, Matinιe de Printemps, street view from hotel window

Camille Pissarro at work in his studio at Eragny-sur-Epte.
In December 1897 an article about the Pissarro family by the novelist and critic Octave Mirbeau appeared in Le Journal. Although Pissarro's third son, Felix, who died on November 26th, is not mentioned in the following extract, like other members of the family he was a talented artist. A painter, engraver and caricaturist, in order to avoid confusion with his father and brothers he generally used the pseudonym Jean Roch.
What an admirable family, that reminds us of the heroic periods of art! In his old age, a man still young in heart and revered, surrounded by five sons, all of them artists; all different! Each one follows his own nature. The father doesn't impose on any of them his own theories and doctrines, his own way of seeing and feeling. He concentrates instead the flower of their individuality. Lucien, a subtle and luminous landscape painter of exquisite sensibility, is not content to express himself on canvas alone. He has been living in England for the past few years and has tried his hand in every medium. In everything he does — wood engraving, etching, book decoration - he shows delightful and discreet taste, charming composition. Georges leans towards the broader aspects of decoration, and is attracted by the my stay of form, which he tries to capture on canvas, wood, copper.

Rodolphe is sarcastic and always quiet. As a 10-year-old he was always out of doors. One day, to everyone's astonishment, large numbers of sketchbooks were discovered in his room. A strangely precocious feeling for caricature, a taste for composition, mass, and even landscape stands out.
Camille Pissarro and his sons
Rodo, Lucien, Felix, 1894
Even the youngest son, who is still in short pants, is involved. One evening his father confiscated a little water-colour from him (fan old white horse in the snow. It showed surprisingly original qualities.

Such is this family, where art is in the home, where each one of them, young and old, cultivates the rarest flowers of beauty — quietly, without publicity, proudly and joyously independent.

Portrait of Felix Pissarro

This portrait of Pissarro's third son, Felix (known as Titi), was painted when he was aged 7. The rather uncomfortable pose, with the head in three-quarter profile, gives the impression of a reluctant sitter.
Although Renoir was the most inveterate traveller of all the Impressionists and at various times rented studios in different parts of Paris, his home during most of the 1880s and 1890s was the grandiosely named Chateau des Brouillards at the seedier end of Montmartre — then still surrounded by market gardens and fields with grazing cows.

The house, which had a fine garden, was part of a ramshackle group of buildings occupying the site of an eighteenth-century folly. Renoir's second son, Jean, who was to achieve fame as a film director in the 1930s, was born there in 1894 and described it in his book Renoir: My Father.
Our house at the Chateau des Brouillards was No. 6 in the row of dwellings at 13 rue Girardon. It had two
upper floors, plus the attic, which had been transformed into a studio. The garden, about fifty feet by seventy five feet, had rose-bushes in it and one fruit tree. The central path led to the entrance of the house, which consisted of four or five stone steps.

The iron ramp was painted black. The front hall, which ended in a staircase, opened on the left into a drawing-room and on the right into the dining-room. At the back was the kitchen, and also a butler's pantry. The staircase was circular, as in a tower, giving the kitchen, which was behind it, a peculiar shape.

The steps were comfortably wide, but became narrower as you went down into the cellar. My father had the walls of the room painted white, and the doors a Trianon grey, just as he did wherever he lived. He had an obsession about the preparation of the Trianon grey, insisting that it should contain the best quality of linseed oil and that the white should be mixed with 'animal' black, and not 'peach' black. He wanted a pure grey obtained from a pure white and the best ivory black. The chief fault he had to find with 'peach black' was that it made the grey look 'sentimental' by giving it a bluish tone.
A contemporary photograph of the Chateau des Brouillards, Renoir's home at 13 rue Girardon.
The largest rooms were about twelve feet by fifteen. In the dining-room Renoir had painted mythological subjects on the window-panes in translucent colours. I have no idea what became of these panes. The two upper floors were divided on the same plan as the ground floor. My mother slept upstairs over the dining-room; my brother-Pierre, when he came home from school on Saturdays, over the drawing-room; Gabrielle above the kitchen. There was a primitive sort of bathroom over the pantry. It was an ordinary room, provided with drains for emptying the dirty water. We washed our faces in basins placed on marble-topped tables. Regular baths were taken in round zinc tubs about afoot deep. We washed our bodies with enormous sponges. We had to fetch our water from the pump at the entrance to the main pathway. Renoir slept on the second floor next to a guest-room, and at the back, over Gabrielle's room, was still another for a servant whenever extra help was needed.
One advantage the Impressionists had over their predecessors was the existence of greater opportunities to make themselves known outside France. In 1897, for instance, their works were shown in Stockholm and Venice; and in other years they exhibited in Berlin, Brussels, Florence, Munich and Vienna. This was partly because of a new phenomenon, the international exhibitions of contemporary art, which had been made possible by more extensive railway and postal services, improved education and an increasingly sophisticated media, as well as the development of photography and the superior reproduction processes available to art magazines.

It was inevitable perhaps that the first of these international exhibitions should have taken place in Belgium - which was bound to France not only by a common language but by the fact that Brussels was a convenient haven for French artists seeking refuge from the political turmoils of the times.

Durand-Ruel had opened a branch there in the 1870s, and in October 1883 a group of twenty 'undisciplined artists', as they called themselves, got together to form a society known as Les Vingt (often written as Les XX) that would hold annual exhibitions devoted to progressive artists from Belgium and other countries. Their success in doing so was largely due to the vigour and pertinacity of their secretary, the lawyer, journalist and art critic Octave Maus, who stated in L'Art moderne in 1886 that their aim was 'to make these exhibitions a realization of modern art in all its forms, enhanced by the fact that they include foreign artists and all who, rejecting the formulae of official art, would boldly proclaim a new art, proud and free, which would pay no heed to the timid protests of the general public or the juvenile or senile remonstrances of the critics.'

In April 1895 French artists were invited to participate in an exhibition in Berlin sponsored by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. Right-wing nationalists boycotted the event, but many artists decided to take part, including Puvis de Chavannes. The caption of this caricature by Pepin, from Le Grelot (March 10th. 1895), reads: 'Art has no fatherland! Perhaps, but M. Puvis de Chavannes has one.'
In 1893, because of internal dissensions, Les Vingt was dissolved and its place taken by La Libre Esthetique, which was run not by artists but by Maus himself. During their existence, the two organizations showed work by all the Impressionists save Caillebotte. The Venice Biennale, which was first held in 1895 and at which Monet exhibited in 1897, was a much more elaborate and more truly international affair, with national pavilions where each nation could show the artists of its choice. Its full impact on the reputation of the Impressionists did not begin to take effect until after World War I. During the next two decades there were exhibitions devoted to the work of Cezanne (1920), Degas  (1924 and 1936), Manet (1934), Monet (1932) and Renoir (1938). It was not until this period that the Italians really accepted French Impressionism, which they had previously thought of as being too imprecise, preferring the works of their own Macchiaioli (from macchie, meaning 'spots'), who by the 1870s had become a significant force in Italian art.

A decorative title promoting La Libre Esthetique, с. 1894.

In Germany the various Secession exhibitions of Munich and Berlin had aims not dissimilar to those of Les Vingt and La Libre Esthetique; but, although Impressionist works were shown, they tended to prefer the Post-Impressionists — including Gauguin, who was to have a particularly strong influence on German painting. The real promoters of Impressionism in Germany were commercial galleries such as Gurlitt's (which held its first Impressionist exhibition in 1883) and that of Paul Cassirer, who acted as Durand-Ruel's agent in Berlin and was involved with the art magazine Pan. In addition, certain individuals played a vital role in promoting the movement. Chief of these was Hugo von Tschudi, a wealthy collector who became Director of the Nationalgalerie in Berlin in 1896. Shortly after accepting the post, he purchased works by Manet, Monet and Pissarro; and when, owing to the Kaiser's disapproval of his policy, he had to move to the Neue Pinakothek in Munich, he was responsible for acquiring works by Cezanne, Guillaumin, Manet, Monet, Pissarro and Renoir. Inspired by his example, other institutions eventually followed suit.

German critics too were in the forefront so far as the recognition of Impressionism was concerned. Richard Muther's History of Modern Painting, which appeared in German in 1893 and in English in 1895, contained a long, sympathetic chapter on Impressionism. Then in 1902 Julius Meicr-Graefe published a book on Manet that included sections on Cezanne, Monet, Pissarro and Renoir, followed in 1908 by a magisterial work on modern art in which he gave due weight to the Impressionists' seminal role. By the first decade of this century there were several important collections of Impressionist paintings in Germany, including those of Franz Thurneyssen, Paul von Mcndclssohn-Bartholdy and the artist Max Liebermann, who had started his collection in the 1890s.

Russia got to know Impressionism through the activities of three collectors. In 1897 a wealthy Moscow merchant, Sergei Shchukin, discovered the Impressionists thanks to one of his mother's relatives — who had lived in Paris — and bought Monet's Lilac in the Sun (1873), which was the first Impressionist painting to reach Russia. He proceeded to purchase further works by Monet covering every stage of the artist's development. Later Shchukin bought works by other Impressionists — including Cezanne, Pissarro and Renoir - and hung them in the gallery of his huge house, which was open to the public on Sundays. His friendly rivals were the brothers Mikhail and Ivan Morozov, who for several years spent, between the two of them, as much as 500,000 francs yearly on acquiring Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings.