Impressionists and Post-Impressionists

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Unit 4
These artists were not American, but they had a great influence on American art.

An understanding of the following will help in appreciating the work of these artists.

Write the terms down and then check ArtLex

art terms:




negative space


value (lightness and darkness)

intensity (brightness or dullness)

amount applied (just a touch or cover canvas)

combination with other colors - complementary Colors



typical Impressionist painting: small; painted on location outdoors; sunlit Sunday afternoon in the park

 Look around the room. What would be the subject for an interesting photograph or painting? For most of history, only certain subjects were considered "worthy" of being painted: portraits, historical events, biblical scenes, landscapes, still lives.

 There were strict rules to be followed. The horizon should be low and there should be a certain amount of sky. Natural colors included browns and blacks. Other colors had to be dark and dull. If people were included, they had to be doing something important.

 But during the last half of the 1800s the camera started to take over these tasks and painters began to explore new approaches.

NOTE:  There are many opinions about which artists were technically "Impressionists."  The term is used rather loosely here to indicate some of the artists who associated with each other.

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Impression Sunrise
Musee Marmottan, Paris


Edgar Degas
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Claude Monet

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Olive Trees With Yellow Sky and Sun
Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Paul Cezanne
George Seurat
Vincent van Gogh


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Musee d'Orsay