In France in the 19th century, the impressionism was based on the art of painting at the door rather than on a studio from the drawings. Landscapes and scenes of daily life were the principal impressionist themes
Claude Monet and other artists in Paris from the beginning of the 1860s established impressionism. (Although John Constable‘s ability to paint nature in realistic terms in England pioneered the on-site painting process from about 1813–17).
Rather than picking in a studio, the impressionists realised that by working easily in the open air (outdoors) than in a studio, they captured the momentary and transiential effects of sunshine. This led to a better understanding of light and colour and the changing design of the natural scene. Brushwork was quickly divided into different dabs to make the fleeting light quality.
In 1874, Monet, Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas and Paul Cezanne participated in the first group exhibition in France. The work shown was welcomed with mockery by the impression that Monet, particularly Sunrise, is ridiculous and gives the movement its name (used by critics as an insult). There were also seven more exhibits until 1886.
Camille Pissarro and Berthe Morisot were most frequently identified with the movement. Others central artists of impressionism were Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet.
While in France, impressionism had a major impact abroad. Walter Richard Sickert and Wilson Steer were among the core British impressionists.
Van gogh’s Impressionism
If Vincent van Gogh was an Impressionist is a hot subject in the art world.
“No” is our reaction. Although Van Gogh studied and used several impressionist techniques, he I greatly improved the techniques and (ii) never became a core member of the impressionist party. He is defined best as a post-Impressionist.
Slightly broadening the answer:
- From 1886 to 1888 Van Gogh was in Paris with the Impressionists. That was at the height of the Impressionist period, after Edouard Manet’s death in 1883.
- During that period, van Gogh learnt to paint in the Impressionist style and to imitate the impressionists’ brief, quick brushstrokes and coloured palette.
- But as his style progressed, he went past impressionism and produced the distinctive aesthetic of post-impressionism. It is now better known because of the courageous and rounding colours that go well beyond the scenes of the artist, influenced by its nature (like the Impressionists) (unlike the impressionists).