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)
Growing Dissent

The artists cannot agree about a title for their exhibition and Cezanne, Monet, Renoir and Sisley ultimately refuse to participate. The show is therefore very unbalanced and badly lit, poorly hung and unsuitably housed has poor attendance figures and even worse reviews.

Manet's health begins to deteriorate.
Renoir breaks his right arm, and has to paint left-handed.

19th Sisley moves to Moret-sur-Loing, near Fontainebleau, at the confluence of the Seine and the Loing.

24th Le Gaulois announces plans to publish a portfolio entitled Le Jour et la Nuit containing prints by Bracquemond, Caillebotte, Cassatt, Degas, Forain, Pissarro, Raffaelli and Rouart, which is to be issued at irregular intervals priced between 5 and 20 francs. (Cassatt's mother would later blame Degas for the portfolio's failure to appear.)

The poster for the fifth Impressionist exhibition.

Pages from the catalogue of Manet's exhibition at the gallery of La Vie moderne in April,
with reproductions of two lithographs by the artist that have since been lost.
Durand-Ruel obtains the backing of M. Feder, the director of the Union Generale bank, and resumes buying works of art on a large scale.

3rd La Vie moderne stages an exhibition of decorated ostrich eggs, including several painted by Manet, Pissarro and Renoir.


1st The fifth Impressionist exhibition opens at 10 rue des Pyramides.

8th An exhibition of pastels entitled 'Recent Works by M. Manet' opens at the gallery belonging to La Vie moderne.

9th The critic Edmond Duranty dies.
Degas arranges a sale of works of art for the benefit of Duranty's mistress, Pauline Bourgeois.
Cezanne comes to Paris. He visits Zola at Medan.

Monet rents a studio at 20 rue de Vintimille.
Diego Martelli's lecture on Impressionism given to the Circolo Filologico of Livorno in 1879 is published in pamphlet form in Pisa.

2nd Opening of the Salon.

Manet's Chez le pere Lathuille and his portrait of Antonin Proust are hung.
Renoir has two submissions accepted.
Eva Gonzales' entries are praised by critics.
Monet makes his last appearance at the Salon; he has one work accepted and one rejected.

Chez le pere Lathuille

Pere Lathuille owned a famous restaurant in the Batignolles area which had been founded at the beginning of the century. This scene is set in its terrace garden. The ardent young man dressed in an artist's smock is Louis Gauthier-Lathuille, the proprietor's son. The actress Ellen Andree first posed for the woman, but was succeeded by Judith French, a cousin of the composer Offenbach.

10th Monet and Renoir write to the Minister of Fine Arts objecting to the way the pictures are hung at the Salon. Cezanne sends Zola a copy of their letter, asking him to publicize it.

23rd The Gazette des tribuneaux publishes a scheme to reform the Salon devised by Renoir and sent to the paper by the restaurateur Eugene Murer. It entails four stylistic categories, each of four hundred artists.

Monet has an exhibition at the gallery of La Vie modeme. Not a single painting is sold, but afterwards Marguerite Charpentier buys Floating Ice on the Seine for 1500 francs (the exhibition price was 2000 francs).

Floating Ice on the Seine

During the very cold winter of 1879-80 the Seine froze over, then early in January a sudden thaw sent massive blocks of ice down the river. Monet produced several paintings of this dramatic natural phenomenon. Despite the artist's constant protestations about painting in the open air, however, this version was clearly painted in the studio a smaller canvas exists showing the ice blocks in an identical position. Mme Charpentier bought Floating Ice on the Seine for 1500 francs, payable in three instalments, as a present for her husband.

Renoir spends several weeks at Wargemont, near Dieppe, staying at the country house of his friend the diplomat and banker Paul Berard.
Mme Cahen d'Anvers and M. Turquet, the former Undersecretary for Fine Arts, commission Renoir to paint their portraits. He works on these in Paris during July.

Murer demands that Sisley repay 1200 francs, which he had lent the artist, and threatens to send in debt collectors if he fails to do so.

18th-22nd Four articles by Zola appear in Le Voltaire. In them he airs the complaints made by Renoir and Monet about the hanging of the Salon but goes on to call the Impressionists mere 'forerunners', stating that 'no artist of this group has achieved powerfully the new formula which, scattered through their works, they all offer.'

Manet rents a house at Bellevue, just outside Paris, where he starts to have hydrotherapy treatment for his circulatory problems.
Berthe Morisot spends the summer in Bougival.
Renoir stays at Chatou, near Argenteuil, where he begins work on Luncheon of the Boating Party; he meets 21-year-old Aline Charigot (his future wife), who appears in the painting.

14th Murer gives a banquet to celebrate Bastille day.
Van Gogh writes to his brother, Theo, explaining why he has decided to become an artist.

Monet paints at Petit-Dalles, on the Normandy coast.
Durand-Ruel sends 233 paintings, most of them by Impressionists, to an exhibition in Oran in Algeria.

Degas starts looking for a new dealer to replace Durand-Ruel. Seurat moves to Paris and studies Old Masters in the Louvre.


Pissarro has a tear duct infection (the first sign of future eye trouble). Durand-Ruel buys several works by Sisley and a pastel by Degas.
The fifth Impressionist exhibition was held at 10 rue des Pyramides from April 1st to 30th. From the start, Degas and Caillebotte disagreed about the title of the exhibition. Consequently, the exhibitors were described as 'A Group of Independent Artists' on the posters (which was Degas' formula), but on the catalogue the title appeared as '5e Exposition de peinture par...'

The premises, on the corner of the rue des Pyramides and the rue St-Honore, were in process of being rebuilt. As a result, there was constant noise and vibration - a fact commented on by the critics, who also noted that the exhibition was badly lit and badly hung. Attendance was poor, and it was generally agreed that this was not primarily an Impressionist exhibition. There were, for instance, thirty-five works by Raffaelli one of Degas' proteges, who was a kind of academic Realist.

On the other hand, Degas himself failed to send in all the works he announced in the catalogue (including a wax statue of a 14-year-old dancer and the Young Spartans Exercising, which he had painted in 1860); and four of the leading Impressionists Cezanne, Monet, Renoir and Sisley - did not participate at all.

As well as nine оil paintings, Pissarro exhibited five groups of etchings mounted on yellow paper in purple frames. There were six paintings by Gauguin (most of them executed at Pontoise under Pissarro's influence) and also a highly finished, almost academic, marble bust of his Danish wife, Mette, sculpted in 1877.

Bust by Gauguin of his wife Mette (1877)

Marie Bracquemond was represented by three works and Felix Bracquemond by two, including a portrait of Edmond de Goncourt in charcoal on canvas that attracted a great deal of attention. Guillaumin contributed twenty-one paintings, which were described by one critic as 'inexplicable barrages of colour'.

Young Woman in White

In many ways a more complex painter than her husband Felix (whose forte was engraving), Marie Braquemond was interested in open-air painting, which she once said had 'produced not only a new, but also a very useful way of looking at things.' This portrait is of her sister Louise Quiveron one of her favourite models.

There were also sixteen works by Mary Cassatt, eighteen by Caillebotte and fifteen by Berthe Morisot.

This time it was not only critics opposed to Impressionism as a matter of principle who wrote unfavourable reviews. Indeed, most damning of all was a piece by Armand Silvestre in the columns of George Charpentier's pro-Impressionist periodical La Vie moderne, who complained that there was 'no trace of the vision that gave the little school the recognition it deserved in the art of recent years' and suggested that some of the pictures on view were not even worthy of the Salon.


One of a pair of paintings (the other representing winter) that Morisot showed at the Impressionist exhibition of 1880. The thematic title suggests a departure from the artist's previous emphasis on specific subjects, and the radiance of the sitter is clearly an allegory for the season.
In 1879 Diego Martelli, the Italian painter and art critic, gave a lecture on Impressionism to the Circolo Filologico of Livorno, which was published in pamphlet form in 1880.

Portrait of Diego Martelli

This is one of Degas' most striking portraits, painted from a viewpoint
above the sitter's head. The artist made numerous preliminary sketches for this work, including one dated April 3rd, 1879-hardly a week before the opening of the fourth Impressionist exhibition, at which this canvas was first shown.

In the following extract, he explains how a greater understanding of the workings of the human eye was the basis of the Impressionists' approach:
Impressionism is not only a revolution in the field of thought, it is also a revolution in the physiological understanding of the human eye. It is a new theory which depends upon a different mode of perceiving the sensation of light and of expressing impressions. The Impressionists did not construct their theories first and then adapt their paintings to them after the fact, but on the contrary, as is always the case with real discoveries, the paintings were bom out of the unconscious discoveries of the artist's eye, which, when considered later on, gave rise to the reasoning of the philosophers.

Until now drawing has generally been believed to be the firmest, most certain and positive part of art. To colour was conceded the unpredictable magic of the realm of the imagination. Today we can no longer reason in this manner, for analysis has shown us that the real impression made upon the eye by objects is an impression of colour, and that we do not see the contours of forms, but only the colours of these forms.

Even if we accept this train of thought, however, drawing need not be renounced, for the revolutions of science, which take place not for secondary ends but with a view to the highest aims, do not destroy that which is good. Drawing therefore is simply conceived by the Impressionists in another way, and takes on a different meaning and function.