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6 Important Impressionist Painters Who Shaped the Iconic Movement

Edgar Degas

Like Renoir, Edgar Degas primarily painted female figures. While Renoir enjoyed illustrating scenes set outside, however, Degas preferred to capture intimate indoor depictions (seen “as if you looked through a key-hole”). This interest is evident in his collection of ballet paintings—set both in studios and on stage—as well as his voyeuristic pastel series of women at la toilette.

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

‘The Ballet Class' (1871-1874) (Photo: Google Art Project via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

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

‘Woman in the Bathtub' (c. 1886) (Photo: The Yorck Project via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

Though less prevalent than ballerinas and bathers, horseback riders often appear in Degas' oeuvre.

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

‘At the Races' (c. 1877-1890) (Photo via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

 

Mary Cassatt

Initially introduced to Paris' premier artists by Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt—an American woman—would become a key figure in the French, male-dominated movement. Cassatt is known for her interest in representing women and girls in her art, which mostly manifested as quiet, mother-daughter depictions.

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

‘The Bath' (1891-1892) (Photo via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

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

‘The Boat Trip' (1893-1894) (Photo: The Yorck Project via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

However, some of her pieces, like her celebrated Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, depict women and girls in a state of solitary reflection.

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

‘Little Girl in a Blue Armchair' (1878) (Photo via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

 

Berthe Morisot

Like Cassatt, Berthe Morisot made a name for herself in the heavily male art world as an Impressionist painter. She produced small-scale oil paintings and pastels on unprimed canvas, giving her pieces a distinctive, almost unfinished appearance. Additionally, she favored planes of white pigment, which boldly stand out against her distinctively bold black accents.

Because of this unique approach to color, she is often regarded as Impressionism's “virtuoso colorist.”

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

‘The Cradle' (1872) (Photo via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

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

‘In a Villa at the Seaside' (1874) (Photo via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

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

‘The Butterfly Hunt' (1874) (Photo via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}})

Together, these artists helped pioneer and popularize Impressionism, and therefore, started the modern art movement. Their work would go on to influence ensuing movements, like Post-Impressionism, and many contemporary artists continue to adopt and adapt the recognizable Impressionist approach—one brushstroke at a time.

 

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