Classic Colors: Impressionism

Classic Colors: Impressionism

Inspiration from the colors of the great impressionists, plus some information about each painting and artist from wikipedia.

For more information about each artist or to see more of their work, just click on any image.

Armand Guillaumin: La Place Valhubert.

img   La Place Valhubert
Born in Paris, France, he worked at his uncle's lingerie shop while attending evening drawing lessons. He also worked for a French government railway before studying at the Académie Suisse in 1861. There, he met Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro with whom maintained lifelong friendships. While he never achieved the stature of these two, his influence on their work was significant. Cézanne attempted his first etching based on Guillaumin paintings of barges on the River Seine.



Armand Guillaumin: Sunset at Ivry

img   Sunset at Ivry
Noted for his intense colors, major museums around the world display Guillaumin's art. He is best remembered for his landscapes of Paris, the Creuse département, and the area around Les Adrets-de-l'Estérel near the Mediterraneran coast in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France.
Armand Guillaumin died in 1927 in Orly, Val-de-Marne just south of Paris.



Claude Monet: Grainstack, Sunset

img   Grainstack (Sunset)
The primary subjects of all of the paintings in the series are stacks of hay that have been stacked in the field after the harvest season. The title refers primarily to a twenty-five canvas series begun the autumn of 1890 and continued through the following spring, using that year's harvest. Some use a broader definition of the title to refer to other paintings by Monet with this same theme. The series is known for its thematic use of repetition to show differences in perception of light across various times of day, seasons, and types of weather. The subjects were painted in fields near Monet's home in Giverny, France.



Claude Monet: Impression, Sunrise

img   Impr. soleil levant
Impression, Sunrise, the painting for which the Impressionist movement was named. Dated 1872, but probably created in 1873, its subject is the harbour of Le Havre in France, using very loose brush strokes that suggest rather than delineate it. Monet explained the title later: "Landscape is nothing but an impression, and an instantaneous one, hence this label that was given us, by the way because of me. I had sent a thing done in Le Havre, from my window, sun in the mist and a few masts of boats sticking up in the foreground....They asked me for a title for the catalogue, it couldn't really be taken for a view of Le Havre, and I said: 'Put Impression.' "



Claude Monet: Water Lilies

img   Water Lilies
Water Lilies (or Nympheas) is a series of approximately 250 oil paintings. The paintings depict Monet's flower garden at Giverny and were the main focus of Monet's artistic production during the last thirty years of his life. Many of the works were painted as Monet suffered from cataracts. In 1923, Monet had a lens removed from his right eye, correcting this but also allowing him to see ultraviolet light (which the lens usually blocks), and he began painting the water lilies in a more blue shade.



Gustave Caillebotte: La Plaine de Gennevilliers

caillebotte.jpg   Plaine Gennevilliers
Caillebotte aimed to paint reality as it existed and as he saw it, hoping to reduce painting's inherent theatricality. Perhaps because of his close relationship with so many of his peers, his style and technique varies considerably among his works, as if “borrowing” and experimenting, but not really sticking to any one style. At times, he seems very much in the Degas camp of rich-colored realism (especially his interior scenes) and at other times, he shares the Impressionists' commitment to "optical truth" and employs an impressionistic pastel-softness and loose brush strokes most similar to Renoir and Pissarro, though with a less vibrant palette.



Gustave Caillebotte: Paris Street, Rainy Day

img   Paris St Rainy Day
This piece depicts an intersection near the Gare Saint-Lazare, a railroad station in north Paris. One of Caillebotte's best known works, it debuted at the Third Impressionist Exhibition of 1877 and is currently on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. Art Institute curator Gloria Groom described the piece as "the great picture of urban life in the late 19th century."

Caillebotte's interest in photography is evident in the painting. The figures in the foreground appear slightly "out of focus", those in the mid-distance (the carriage and the pedestrians in the middle of the intersection) have sharp edges, and then the background becomes progressively indistinct.



Edgar Degas: At the Races

degas_races.jpg   At the Races
Technically, Degas differs from the Impressionists in that, as art historian Frederick Hartt says, he "never adopted the Impressionist color fleck", and he continually belittled their practice of painting en plein air. "He was often as anti-impressionist as the critics who reviewed the shows", according to art historian Carol Armstrong; as Degas himself explained, "no art was ever less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and of the study of the great masters; of inspiration, spontaneity, temperament, I know nothing." Nonetheless, he is described more accurately as an Impressionist than as a member of any other movement. His scenes of Parisian life, his off-center compositions, his experiments with color and form, and his friendship with several key Impressionist artists, most notably Mary Cassatt and Edouard Manet, all relate him intimately to the Impressionist movement.



Edgar Degas: Place de la Concorde,

img   Place de la Concorde
It depicts the cigar smoking Vicomte Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic, his daughters, and his dog, and a solitary man on the left in Place de la Concorde in Paris. Tuileries Gardens can be seen in the background behind a stone wall. The Vicomte Lepic was an aristocrat, artist, and flâneur. Many art historians believe that the large amount of negative space, the cropping and the way in which the figures are facing in random directions was influenced by photography.
This signal artwork was considered lost for four decades following WWII, until the Russian authorities put it on exhibit at the Hermitage Museum, where it remains to this day. It was confiscated by the Red Army from the German collector Otto Gerstenberg during the post-WWII Soviet occupation of Germany.



Mary Cassat: Tea

img   Cup of Tea
In 1891, she exhibited a series of highly original colored drypoint and aquatint prints, including Woman Bathing and The Coiffure, inspired by the Japanese masters shown in Paris the year before. Cassatt was attracted to the simplicity and clarity of Japanese design, and the skillful use of blocks of color. In her intrepretation, she used primarily light, delicate pastel colors and avoided black (a “forbidden” color among the Impressionists). A. Breeskin, of the Smithsonian Institution, notes that these colored prints, “now stand as her most original contribution… adding a new chapter to the history of graphic arts…technically, as color prints, they have never been surpassed”.



Éduard Manet: Battle of Kearsarge V. Alabama

img   Kearsarge v. Alabama
He was influenced by the Impressionists, especially Monet and Morisot. Their influence is seen in Manet's use of lighter colors, but he retained his distinctive use of black, uncharacteristic of Impressionist painting. He painted many outdoor (plein air) pieces, but always returned to what he considered the serious work of the studio.



Paul Cézanne: Jas de Bouffan

jas_de_bouffan.jpg   Jas de Bouffan
His work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th century Impressionism and the early 20th century's new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. The line attributed to both Matisse and Picasso that Cézanne "is the father of us all" cannot be easily dismissed.

Cézanne's work demonstrates a mastery of design, colour, composition and draftsmanship. His often repetitive, sensitive and exploratory brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognisable. He used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields, at once both a direct expression of the sensations of the observing eye and an abstraction from observed nature. The paintings convey Cézanne's intense study of his subjects, a searching gaze and a dogged struggle to deal with the complexity of human visual perception.



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Showing 1 - 13 of 13 Comments
(Typo: Édouard Manet)

Lovely choice of paintings.
Beautimous! Love Grainstack!
These are ALL awesome...thanks for the inspiration.
I just love impressionism. It is probably my favorite art movement. Fabulous paintings and notes about the artist and painting. Enjoyed, very much. :)
Some pointilism:
impressionistic tree
Gorgeous, although (as ever) Sisley's left out. :( Poor Sisley, everyone forgets about him!

Excellent post, though. ^^ Impressionist work has the most beautiful colours, and the palettes are great.
Very nice selection of paintings. Each with a great color palette & ideal contrast. :)
very interesting! paintings are great! :)
The colours are striking! Beautiful paintings with wonderful textures. :)
Wow. Palettes hit the right colors. I am a fan of Impressionism. That era captured the moment by using all those colors.
I just used this Monet painting in a palette a couple of days ago, and then I saw it again in your article.
very colorful indeed

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