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)
'Olympia' Accepted by the State

Monet's campaign to buy 'Olympia' culminates in the painting being offered to the State. His motives are threefold: to aid Manet's widow, to win official recognition for Impressionism, and to establish his own position as the leader of the movement.

Pissarro shows twenty-five works at Boussod & Valadon, including The Gleaners. The owners of the gallery say they are unhappy with his Pointillist style because 'it frightens the buyers.'

The Gleaners

This conrposition was first used by Pissarro for a fan in 1887, the year in which Millet's The Gleaners was shown at his retrospective at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Painted in a field at Eragny-sur-Epte, Pissarro's version shows a greater realism than Millet's idealized portrayal of life in the fields.

Foundation of the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts, a splinter group of the Societe des Artistes Francais (which took over the running of the Salon following the reforms of 1880).
Sisley becomes a member of the new society.

7th Monet writes to the Minister of Fine Arts, Armand Fallieres, formally offering Manet's Olympia to the nation - the fund, which was launched in July 1889, having now almost reached its target of 20,000 francs.

The Ministry of Fine Arts buys two etchings by Pissarro.
Cezanne, Pissarro, Seurat and van Gogh feature in the biographical publication Les Hommes d'aujourd'hui.

5th An exhibition of the Societe des Peintres-Graveurs, including paintings by Pissarro, opens at Durand-Ruel's gallery.

12th In a letter to Monet, Degas agrees to make a belated contribution of 100 francs to the Olympia fund.


14th Renoir marries Aline Charigot  at the Town Hall of the 9th arrondissement in Paris.

25th An exhibition of Japanese woodblock prints opens at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

Degas visits Brussels to see his favourite opera singer, Rose Caron, in Delibes' Salammbo.

Rose Caron, Degas' favourite opera singer (1898).

Renoir refuses the offer of a decoration from the Government.
Pissarro visits London, where he paints views of Charing Cross Bridge, Hampton Court Green, Hyde Park
and Kensington Gardens.

Charing Cross Bridge, London

Painted during Pissarro's visit to London in May with the Neo-Impressionist Maximilien Luce, this view is from Waterloo Bridge. In the centre are the Houses of Parliament, and to the right can be seen Westminster Hall, Westminster Abbey, Whitehall and Cleopatra's Needle. That Pissarro was beginning to abandon Neo-Impressionism when he painted this work is evident from his use of a much fuller brushstroke.


8th Renoir spends at least two weeks at La Rochelle.

28th Publication of the first issue of The Whirlwind, a magazine launched by 'The London Impressionists'.


29th Van Gogh dies in Auvers from a self-inflicted bullet wound .

A card from Theo van Gogh announcing Vincent's death on July 29th, 1890.

Degas takes the waters at Cauterets in the Pyrenees. At nearby Pau he sees Paul Lafond. He goes on to visit his brother Achille in Geneva.
Monet starts work on his Haystacks series.

Renoir stays with Berthe Morisot and her family at Mezy.

1st An article by George Moore  entitled 'Degas: The Painter of Modern Life', is published in the influential British periodical The Magazine of Art. It praises Degas' realism and also mentions his family's financial problems.

26th Degas goes to Burgundy in a tilbury (an open two-wheeled carriage) drawn by a white horse.


12th Theo van Gogh goes into hospital.

14th Degas breaks with George Moore over the revelations about his family published in The Magazine of Art in September.
Monet buys the freehold of his house in Givernv and starts replanning the gardens.

Lucien Pissarro settles in London.

22nd Durand-Ruel launches a magazine called L'Art dans les deux mondes, which publishes articles about the Impressionists in order to generate publicity for their work in Europe and the USA. (It only survives until May 1891.)

The front cover of the first edition
of L'Art dans les deux mondes,
with an etching by Gassatt,
published on November 22nd, 1890.


6th Teodor de Wyzewa publishes an important essay on Renoir in L'Art dans les deux mondes.

27th Publication of the last issue of The Whirlwind (the magazine of :The London Impressionists').
Durand-Ruel had never approved of Renoir's 'hard' style, and when the dealer commissioned Teodor de Wyzewa - a young Polish-born critic who had been a friend of Renoir's since 1886 — to write an article about the artist (published in L'Art dans les deux mondes on December 6th, 1890) it was clearly with the intention of explaining to prospective buyers the artist's various changes of style.

Place Clichy
с. 1880

In this painting there is a striking contrast between the highly detailed figure in the foreground and the shimmering secondary figures, which are reminiscent of those in Dancing at the Moulin de la Galette.
M. Renoir had become famous; of all the Impressionists he was the most delicate, the most feminine, the one in whom we recognized the less praiseworthy of our sensual feelings. And at this point in his career he started to react against this weaker, feminine characteristic of his work. For several years he felt disquiet, and sometimes *&»»»«,
despair, as he looked at the Old Masters whose dedicated and respecful admirer he had always been. He was searching for a more solid, a more classical way of painting, one which was sufficient unto itself, independently of the sensual charm he was able to add to it. 'The Bathers', which he exhibited at the rue de Size in 1887 [at Georges Petit's gallery], will continue to bear witness to those years of quest and hesitation. I cannot forget the quite unearthly emotion aroused in me by this strong but gentle painting, this delicious mixture of looking and dreaming.

The effort of so many years ended in triumph: M. Renoir finally took possession of this pure and perceptive beauty of form, and never lost it. So far, he is the only one amongst us who knows its secret. Some of the portraits, nude studies and heads of children that he painted after his 'Bathers' are works which have all the lifelike qualities
of relief the sobriety and trenchancy of execution of the Old Masters. All he had to do now was to add the apparent grace of his early paintings - ennobled and raised to the level of an art that had by now become completely classical. And it is upon this mingling of life-giving power and grace of expression that M. Renoir has been working ever since.

Today each of the pictures he paints represents a particular style, for he has not spent ten years on these patient and varied studies in vain — studies to which none of our young painters has the time or the inclination to devote themselves. He has not stopped being a master for ten years to become a pupil once more, without gaining a richness and variety of vision capable of bringing to different subjects the forms appropriate to each of them...

What constitutes the artistic merit of the work of M. Renoir is that beneath his twenty successive styles he has always remained the same, absolutely the same, so that it is enough to have seen one of his early pictures in order to recognize him in his present works. No painter has brought more personal, innate and individual qualities to the service of art.

Portrait of Mme de Bonnieres

Not content with writing articles in praise of Renoir's work, Teodor de Wyzewa persuaded Robert de Bonnieres, a writer for Le Figaro, to commission Renoir to paint this portrait of his wife. At the time it was fashionable for women to be pale, and the canvas does give the impression of a woman wearing heavy make-up. Renoir was frustrated by this and later confided in Vollard: 'Just imagine I come across one of the most charming women it is possible to meet, and she doesn't want to have any colour in her cheeks!'

These innate and individual qualities are, unfortunately, easier to appreciate than to define in words. I believe they may be summed up as an extraordinary feeling for those aspects of nature that are elusive, capricious, feminine. Unknown to himself, M. Renoir brings life to everything he sees, with a characteristic touch of his own that is at once naive and sophisticated, agitated and serene. His type of young girl has tried to alter herself, but in all her poses and beneath all her guises we find the same delicious little being, like a cat in a fairy tale, peering sleepily out at the world through strange little eyes, both tender and mischievous. And this expression is not just the result of the form of the body and the facial features. It is to be found in the half-imaginary settings that serve the figures as a background; it may be found even in those simple and powerful landscapes that M. Renoir loves to paint from time to time, knowing, as the Old Masters did, that nothing does more to imbue the eye with a feeling of life.

One may recognize M. Renoir's very soul in his painting of flowers — the loveliest flower paintings ever created, marvellously alive, bursting with colour, and ever seductive by virtue of a very feminine intermingling of gentle languor and disturbing capriciousness.
Having accumulated 19,415 francs for the purchase of Manet's Olympia for the nation, on February 7th Monet wrote a letter to Armand Fallieres, the Minister of Fine Arts, that reveals the extent to which he was using a basically philanthropic gesture, intended to aid Manet's widow, in order to boost Impressionism and, indirectly, his own standing in the movement.

Monet was clearly apprehensive that the State would accept Olympia and then relegate it to some obscure provincial museum. He therefore not only had the letter published in Le Figaro but also returned the agreement to the Minister when he discovered that a clause placing the picture in the Luxembourg had been omitted. Eventually Olympia was hung in the Luxembourg where it remained for seventeen years, before being moved to the Louvre in 1907.
Monsieur le Ministre,

In the name of the group of subscribers below, I have the honour of offering the State 'Olympia' by Edouard Manet.

We come to you as representatives and spokespersons of a large number of artists, writers and art lovers who have recognized for a long time now how considerable a place this painter, prematurely taken from his art and his country, should occupy in the history of this century. The discussions that swirled around Manet's paintings and the hostilities that they provoked have now subsided. The struggle will go on against those people who are less convinced than we of the importance of Manet's ceuvre and his definitive triumph. However, we need only recall figures once decried and rejected such as Delacroix, Corot, Courbet and Millet, to cite only a few names who suffered anonymity at the beginning of their careers only to enjoy incontestable posthumous fame, figures who are today celebrities.

But the vast majority of those people who concern themselves with French painting believe that Edouard Manet's role was effective and decisive. Not only did he play a large part individually; he was the representative of a great and rich evolution as well.

It seems to us inconceivable that such a work as the 'Olympia' should not have its place in our national collections; that the master is not represented where his disciples already reside. In addition, we have been concerned about the incessant movement of the market, the extraordinary purchase of works from us by the Americans, the easily predicted departure for another continent of so many works of art that are the joy and glory of France. We have wanted to retain one of Edouard Manet's most characteristic canvases, one in which he appeared victorious in the fight, master of his vision and of his craft.

It is the 'Olympia' that we put back in your hands, Monsieur le Ministre. Our desire to see it take its place in the Louvre, in its time, among the productions of the French school. If regulations bar its immediate entry, if it is objected, despite the precedent of Courbet, that a period of ten years has not elapsed since Manet's death, then we believe the Musee du Luxembourg is perfectly appropriate to receive the 'Olympia' and keep it until the appointed time. We trust that you will want to give your approval to the work with which we are associated, with the satisfaction of having accomplished what is simply an act of justice.

Paul Cézanne
A Modern Olympia
c. 1873/74