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Capturing Light and Colour - The Vibrant History of Impressionist Art

Capturing Light and Colour: The Vibrant History of Impressionist Art

For aficionados and collectors who appreciate the nuances of fine art, the Impressionist movement holds a special place in the history of art. As a reputable fine art dealer, Victoria Fine Art offers an insightful exploration into this captivating era. For those looking to buy Impressionist fine art online, understanding its rich history adds depth to their collection. In this short guide, we look into the Impressionist movement, exploring its origins, key figures, and enduring influence.

The Birth of Impressionism

Impressionist art made its first appearance in France during the late 19th century as a radical departure from traditional art. The movement was characterised by a desire to capture the transient effects of light and colour. It marked a shift away from the previously popular realistic portrayals, focusing instead on the artist’s perception and experience.

The Rebel Exhibition of 1874

The first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 was a bold statement against the conventional art norms of the time. This groundbreaking event, held independently of the Paris Salon, showcased works that were criticised for their unfinished and sketch-like appearance. However, it laid the foundation for a new artistic expression and opened the doors for other movements and today’s modern art.

Key Impressionist Painters

Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Cézanne were amongst the pioneers of the Impressionist movement. Each artist brought a unique perspective, forever changing the landscape of fine art. Their works and the works of other impressionist artists, which can now be accessed through platforms to buy Impressionist paintings online, continue to influence artists and collectors alike.

Techniques and Styles

Impressionist painters employed rapid brush strokes and a vibrant palette to capture the essence of a scene. They often worked en plein air (outdoors), allowing them to directly observe and portray natural light and its changing qualities.

Impressionism and Landscape Art

Landscape painting was fundamentally transformed by Impressionism. Artists like Monet and Pissarro depicted rural and urban settings in a way that conveyed the fleeting moments of light and atmosphere, offering a fresh perspective on everyday scenes.

The Role of Colour and Light

As we’ve already noted, the use of colour and light was revolutionary in Impressionist art. Artists abandoned the use of blacks and greys, opting for pure colours to depict shadows and highlights, thus creating a vivid, dynamic aesthetic. Prior to this movement, artists traditionally used muted, earthy tones, adhering to strict rules of shading and depth. However, Impressionists broke free from these constraints, embracing bright, vivid colours. They understood that shadows were not just brown or black, but were filled with the colours of reflected objects. This led to the use of purples, blues, and greens in their depictions of shadows, radically changing the way darkness and depth were represented.

Influence on Modern Art

Impressionism’s emphasis on personal perspective and visual sensation paved the way for various modern art movements, including Post-Impressionism and Cubism. Its impact is evident in the works of later artists like Van Gogh and Picasso.

Impressionism Beyond France

While Impressionism had its roots in France, its influence quickly spread across Europe and the United States. Artists worldwide embraced and adapted its techniques, creating a global legacy that continues to inspire.

The Enduring Legacy of Impressionism

Today, Impressionist art is celebrated for its revolutionary approach and enduring beauty. Its influence on the art world is undeniable, and its appeal remains strong among collectors and art enthusiasts.

Collecting Impressionist Art

For collectors and enthusiasts looking to buy Impressionist fine art online, understanding the historical and cultural significance of these works adds immeasurable value to their collections. Victoria Fine Art prides itself on curating a diverse selection of authentic Impressionist paintings, which are available to view and purchase on our website.

Impressionism forever changed the course of art history, challenging traditional norms and introducing a new way of seeing the world. For those seeking to buy Impressionist paintings online, Victoria Fine Art offers a gateway to owning a piece of this remarkable art movement. As we continue to appreciate and study Impressionist art, its legacy lives on, both in the masterpieces of the past and in the inspiration it provides to artists and collectors today.

If you would like to learn more about Impressionist artwork or view our collection in person, please get in touch on 01727 861669

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5 Notable Impressionist Artists

Developed in France in the nineteenth century, Impressionism is based on spontaneously painting ‘on the spot’ and typically outdoors, as opposed to in a studio from sketches. As a fine art dealer, Victoria Fine Art offers a range of impressionist paintings for sale online, including plenty of landscapes and scenes of everyday life that feature heavily in a wide selection of impressionist paintings. Here’s our shortlist of 5 notable impressionist artists.

Claude Monet

The first impressionist artist that it is imperative to mention is, of course, Claude Monet. Impressionist was initially developed by Monet, alongside other artists who were based in Paris in the early 1860s, meaning that Monet was central to the development of the impressionist movement. As a leading French impressionist landscape painter, Monet exhibited in most of the Impressionist exhibitions, where the title of one of his paintings (Impression, Sunrise) led to the naming of the movement.

Camille Pissarro

Another notable impressionist artist is Jacob Abraham Camille Pissarro, a Danish-French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painter. In 1873, Pissarro helped to establish a collective society of fifteen aspiring artists, and as a result became the “pivotal” figure in holding the group together and encouraging the other members. Pissarro was famously titled the “dean of the Impressionist painters” by notable art historian John Rewald, not only because he was the oldest of the group, but also “by virtue of his wisdom and his balanced, kind, and warm-hearted personality”. 

Paul Cézanne

No conversation, or indeed article, on impressionist artist would be complete without mention of Paul Cézanne. As a fine art dealer specialising in impressionist art and offering customers the opportunity to buy impressionist art online, I greatly admire the work of Cézanne and the variety of representation and influence of his work. Cézanne is said to have bridged the gap between late 19th-century Impressionism and the early 20th century’s Cubism, and his distinctive style is immediately recognisable despite the wide reach of the movement. His famously exploratory, often repetitive, brushstrokes are highly characteristic, often using planes of colour and small brushstrokes to form complex fields. 

Walter Richard Sickert

Although impressionism originated in France, it also had great influence overseas. One of the core British impressionists is Walter Richard Sickert, who was recognised both during his own lifetime as an important artist and in the years since his death. His reputation makes him one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century British art. As a pupil of Whistler and a co-worker of Degas in Paris, Sickert returned to England in 1905 where he became the main influencer for avant-garde French painting in British art.

Mary Cassatt

This short list of notable impressionist artists wouldn’t be complete with mentioning one of the most influential female artists of the movement. Mary Cassatt was an American painter and printmaker who, although born in Pennsylvania, lived much of her adult life in France. She exhibited with many of the impressionist artists above and her work focussed heavily on both the social and private lives of women. Her striking paintings that often depicted the intimate bonds between mothers and children are both moving and beautiful.

Buy Impressionist Art Online

If you have any further questions regarding the wide selection of impressionist art to buy online at Victoria Fine Art, or wish to set up an appointment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Feel free to complete this form, telephone +44 (0)1727 861669 or email info@victoria-fine-art.com for more information.