Impression: Painting Quickly in France, 1860-1890

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The "point" of Impressionist art was to capture the fleeting moment, the transient effect, the essential reality of a certain place, person, or time. Impressionist artists worked on site with speed and directness, hoping to distinguish their works with a new freshness, immediacy, and truthfulness. Yet the paintings they exhibited were in fact almost always completed in the studio later. This beautifully illustrated book investigates for the first time the impressions, or painted sketches, that were actually done on the spot. Renowned Impressionist scholar Richard R. Brettell focuses on impressions and how they differ from the finished pictures of some of the best-known artists of the Impressionist movement, among them Manet, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Morisot, Degas, Pissarro, and Caillebotte.

The book surveys the various practices of individual artists in the making, signing, exhibiting, and selling of impressions. Brettell discusses the pictorial theories behind the sketches, the sales strategies for them, and the various forms they took, including works completed in one sitting, "apparent" impressions, and repeated impressions. In a concluding chapter, the author considers a small group of works by Vincent van Gogh, who painted with an almost fanatical rapidity and was the only major post-Impressionist painter to push the aesthetic of the impression even further.

This book is the catalogue for an exhibition that will be held at the National Gallery in London from 1 November 2000 to 28 January 2001, and then travels to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam from 2 March to 20 May 2001 and the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, from 16 June to 8 September 2001.

About the Author:
Richard R. Brettell is professor of aesthetic studies in the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. His many previous books include Pissarro and Pontoise and The Impressionist and the City, both published by Yale University Press.

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Editorial Reviews

Beautifully illustrated with full-color plates and detailed inserts . . . an important new study in the old critique of technique.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300084474
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 12/11/2000
  • Pages: 240

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