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Post-Impressionist


Post-Impressionism (also spelled Postimpressionism) is a predominantly French art movement that developed roughly between 1886 and 1905, from the last Impressionist exhibition to the birth of Fauvism. Post-Impressionism emerged as a reaction against Impressionists' concern for the naturalistic depiction of light and colour. Due to its broad emphasis on abstract qualities or symbolic content, Post-Impressionism encompasses Neo-Impressionism, Symbolism, Cloisonnism, Pont-Aven School, and Synthetism, along with some later Impressionists' work. The movement was led by Paul Cézanne (known as father of post-impressionism), Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, and Georges Seurat.

The term Post-Impressionism was first used by art critic Roger Fry in 1906. Critic Frank Rutter in a review of the Salon d'Automne published in Art News, 15 October 1910, described Othon Friesz as a "post-impressionist leader"; there was also an advert for the show The Post-Impressionists of France. Three weeks later, Roger Fry used the term again when he organized the 1910 exhibition, Manet and the Post-Impressionists, defining it as the development of French art since Manet.

Post-Impressionists extended Impressionism while rejecting its limitations: they continued using vivid colours, often thick application of paint, and real-life subject matter, but were more inclined to emphasize geometric forms, distort form for expressive effect, and use unnatural or arbitrary colour.

The Post-Impressionists were dissatisfied with what they felt was the triviality of subject matter and the loss of structure in Impressionist paintings, though they did not agree on the way forward. Georges Seurat and his followers concerned themselves with Pointillism, the systematic use of tiny dots of colour. Paul Cézanne set out to restore a sense of order and structure to painting, to "make of Impressionism something solid and durable, like the art of the museums". He achieved this by reducing objects to their basic shapes while retaining the saturated colours of Impressionism. The Impressionist Camille Pissarro experimented with Neo-Impressionist ideas between the mid-1880s and the early 1890s. Discontented with what he referred to as romantic Impressionism, he investigated Pointillism, which he called scientific Impressionism, before returning to a purer Impressionism in the last decade of his life.Vincent van Gogh used colour and vibrant swirling brush strokes to convey his feelings and his state of mind.



References
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  • Neo-Impressionism: ridiculed by contemporary art critics as well as artists as Pointillism; Seurat and Signac would have preferred other terms: Divisionism for example
  • Cloisonnism: a short-lived term introduced in 1888 by the art critic Édouard Dujardin, was to promote the work of Louis Anquetin, and was later also applied to contemporary works of his friend Émile Bernard
  • Synthetism: another short-lived term coined in 1889 to distinguish recent works of Gauguin and Bernard from that of more traditional Impressionists exhibiting with them at the Café Volpini.
  • Pont-Aven School: implying little more than that the artists involved had been working for a while in Pont-Aven or elsewhere in Brittany.
  • Symbolism: a term highly welcomed by vanguard critics in 1891, when Gauguin dropped Synthetism as soon as he was acclaimed to be the leader of Symbolism in painting.
  • Modernism, thus, is now considered to be the central movement within international western civilization with its original roots in France, going back beyond the French Revolution to the Age of Enlightenment.
  • Symbolism, however, is considered to be a concept which emerged a century later in France, and implied an individual approach. Local national traditions as well as individual settings therefore could stand side by side, and from the very beginning a broad variety of artists practicing some kind of symbolic imagery, ranged between extreme positions: The Nabis for example united to find synthesis of tradition and brand new form, while others kept to traditional, more or less academic forms, when they were looking for fresh contents: Symbolism is therefore often linked to fantastic, esoteric, erotic and other non-realist subject matter.
  • Manet and the Post-Impressionists (exh. cat. by R. Fry and D. MacCarthy, London, Grafton Gals, 1910–11)
  • The Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition (exh. cat. by R. Fry, London, Grafton Gals, 1912)
  • J. Rewald. Post-Impressionism: From Van Gogh to Gauguin (New York, 1956, rev. 3/1978)
  • F. Elgar. The Post-Impressionists (Oxford, 1977)
  • Post-Impressionism: Cross-currents in European Painting (exh. cat., ed. J. House and M. A. Stevens; London, RA, 1979–80)
  • B. Thomson. The Post-Impressionists (Oxford and New York, 1983, rev. 2/1990)
  • J. Rewald. Studies in Post-Impressionism (London, 1986)
  • Bowness, Alan, et alt.: Post-Impressionism. Cross-Currents in European Painting, Royal Academy of Arts & Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London 1979
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art Timeline
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