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6 Important Impressionist Painters Who Shaped the Iconic Movement

List of Impressionist Artists List Impressionist Painters Who Started the Impressionist Movement

In the 1870s, the western art world was turned upside-down with the emergence of Impressionism, an avant-garde art movement. Born in Paris, France, Impressionism was founded by a unique group of artists who each opted to abandon traditional rules of art in favor of a new approach. Characterized by quick, painterly brushstrokes and a unique use of color based on the effects of light, this novel style of painting enabled the artists to capture fleeting impressions of everyday life—an interest that unified them and eventually led to their “Impressionist” title.

While a myriad of artists influenced the iconic movement, the work of a select few has resonated particularly strongly over the last century. Here, we explore the work of these iconic Impressionist painters in order to understand their respective contributions to the first modern art movement.

In this Impressionist artists list, we take a closer look at the painters who started the iconic movement.

Claude Monet

Claude Monet is the artist most closely associated with Impressionism. This is due in part to Impression, Sunrise, a piece he painted in 1872. A depiction of his hometown's harbor, the painting portrays several characteristics distinctive of the movement, from its thick brushwork to its focus on light. Impression, Sunrise was featured in 1874's Exhibition of the Impressionists—the first Impressionist show—and thereafter inspired the movement's now-household name.

Contemporary Landscape Painting

‘Impression, Sunrise' (1872) (Photo: via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

In addition to Impression, Sunrise, Monet is also widely praised for his later canvases. These include depictions of his Japanese bridge in Giverny, snapshots of fin-de-siècle Paris, and his iconic Water Lilies series.

List of Impressionist Artists List Impressionist Painters Who Started the Impressionist Movement

‘Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge' (c. 1897-1899) (Photo: the-athenaeum.org via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

List of Impressionist Artists List Impressionist Painters Who Started the Impressionist Movement

‘Rue Montorgueil with Flags' (1886) (Photo: ARC via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

List of Impressionist Artists List Impressionist Painters Who Started the Impressionist Movement

‘Water-Lilies' (c. 1890-1899) (Photo: Ribberlin via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

 

Édouard Manet

Along with Claude Monet, Édouard Manet pioneered the concept of employing everyday life as subject matter. Even before his involvement with the Impressionists, Manet worked in a style that challenged the academic style of 19th-century France.

His most well-known piece, Luncheon on the Grass, portrays his tendency toward experimenting with a more Impressionist style. Painted nearly 10 years before Impression, Sunrise, this work showcases the start of the artist's interest in a more modern approach to painting.

List of Impressionist Artists List Impressionist Painters Who Started the Impressionist Movement

‘Luncheon on the Grass' (1863) (Photo: Wartbur College via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

Over the next decade, his paintings would become increasingly Impressionist, culminating in a body of work largely linked to the movement.

List of Impressionist Artists List Impressionist Painters Who Started the Impressionist Movement

‘Saint-Lazare Train Station' (1872-1873) (Photo: The Yorck Project via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

List of Impressionist Artists List Impressionist Painters Who Started the Impressionist Movement

‘Claude Monet in Argenteuil' (1874) (Photo: The Yorck Project via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

 

Pierre Auguste-Renoir

Renowned for his soft depictions of fellow artists, friends, and family members, Pierre Auguste-Renoir is predominantly regarded as a portrait painter. Often set outdoors, his portrayals—like The Luncheon of the Boating Party—are composed of saturated color and illuminated by dappled sunlight.

List of Impressionist Artists List Impressionist Painters Who Started the Impressionist Movement

The Luncheon of the Boating Party (1881) (Photo via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

List of Impressionist Artists List Impressionist Painters Who Started the Impressionist Movement

‘Dance at Le moulin de la Galette' (1876) (Photo: Allart.biz via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

When not painting large groups, the artist usually employed female subjects, whose beauty he admired. “To my mind, a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful, and pretty, yes pretty!” he famously exclaimed. “There are too many unpleasant things in life as it is without creating still more of them.”

List of Impressionist Artists List Impressionist Painters Who Started the Impressionist Movement

‘On the Terrace' (1881) (Photo: The Yorck Project via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

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