Part I: Top 10 Impressionists you need to know

In 1874, a group of artists called the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers, etc. organized an exhibition in Paris that launched the movement called Impressionism. Its founding members, among others, included Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro. The group was unified only by its independence from the official annual Salon, for which a jury of artists from the Académie des Beaux-Arts selected artworks and awarded medals.

Impressionism, broadly viewed, was a celebration of the pleasures of middle-class life and many of the artists in the group focused on the Parisians’ favorite pastimes, like boating, swimming, and enjoying lazy weekends in the country. Construction of radial rail lines that originated in Paris and extended into rural areas and other towns throughout France brought the newly mobile middle class city crowds to the countryside. Monet, Manet, Caillebotte, and Renoir used these settings as the principal compositions for their paintings.

Here are the 10 Impressionist artists you need to know (in no particular order): Part I.

1. Claude Monet

Oscar-Claude Monet (born November 14, 1840, Paris, France—died December 5, 1926, Giverny), was one of the founding members of the loosely associated Impressionist group. In his mature works, Monet developed his method of producing repeated studies of the same motif in series, changing canvases with the light or as his interest shifted. Monet became one of the most famous painters in the second half of the 20th century following a number of traveling exhibitions that featured not only his works, but products with his art.

10 Impressionists. Claude Monet, 'La Gare Saint-Lazare', 1877. Oil on canvas. In the collection of the Musee D'Orsay, Paris

Claude Monet, ‘La Gare Saint-Lazare’, 1877. Oil on canvas. In the collection of the Musee d’Orsay, Paris

‘La Gare Saint-Lazare’ painted in 1877 is considered to be an iconic Monet series because here the artist depicts symbols of industrial progress. Steam trains, grandiose and airy train terminals were all new to the artist and the city and he embraced them, depicting the structure in 12 different paintings. His other famous series include waterlilies, haystacks, and views of London and the River Thames. These series were frequently exhibited in groups—for example, his images of haystacks (1891) and the Rouen Cathedral (1894).

Next page – Edgar Degas

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