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FRDERIC BAZILLE: "The artist's studio - Bazille's Studio; 9 rue de la Condamine" - 1870 - oil

on canvas, 98 - 128.5 cm. - Paris, Muse d'Orsay - view high resolution image
Friend of Monet, Sisley and Manet, and born in a wealthy family, Bazille is the tragic figure of
Impressionism, dead at the Franco-Prussian War when he was only 28 years old. "The artist's
studio" is widely considered his masterpiece, in which we can find some important names in the
Impressionist movement: painters like Monet, Renoir and Manet; and friends like Emile Zola or
Edmond Matre.

EUGNE BOUDIN: "Dock at Deauville" - 1869 - oil on canvas, 23 - 32 cm. - Paris, Muse
d'Orsay - view high resolution image
Boudin was one of the first French landscape painters to paint outdoors, and he is widely
recognized as one of the most important influences to the first Impressionist painters. When he
moved to Saint-Simon in 1862, some young painters began to imitate his lively brushstroke,
starting the "Saint-Simon School", considered nowadays one of the origins of Impressionism.

GUSTAVE CAILLEBOTTE: "Les raboteurs (The floor scrapers)", 1876 - oil


on canvas, 102 - 146.5 cm. - Paris, Muse d'Orsay - view high resolution
image
The vertiginous perspective and the almost photographic focus are
characteristic of Caillebotte's first works. This work exemplifies as no other
the stupor that Caillebotte could cause between the assistants to the first
impressionist exhibitions. Zola, who really appreciated Caillebotte, described
it like "an antiartistic, clean painting, frost and bourgeois, by force of
exactitude."
GUSTAVE CAILLEBOTTE: "Paris Street, rainy day"1877 - oil on canvas, 212.2 - 276.2 cm. - The Art
Institute of Chicago - view high resolution image
This is Caillebotte's most famous and ambitious painting, exhibited at the Third Impressionist
Exhibition at the Rue Le Peletier, where it was not well accepted by the critic. L'venement wrote
about this painting: "the drawing is of good quality, but Caillebotte has forgotten to include the rain".
Anyways, this is one of the best representations of 19th century Paris ever painted.

MARY CASSATT: "Summertime", 1894 - oil on canvas, 100.7-81.3 cm. - Terra Foundation
for American Art, Chicago - view high resolution image
Mary Cassatt was born in Pennsylvania, but lived much of her adult life in France, where she
was invited by Edgar Degas to show her works with the Impressionists. The works created
in the 1890s are by far the most interesting of her career, and though the Impressionist
group was soon disbanded, Cassatt still had contact with some of the members, enriching
her talent to the point of becoming a role model for young American artists.

PAUL CZANNE: The Hanged Man's House in Auvers-sur-Oise" - 1873 - Oil on canvas, 55
x 66 cm - Paris, Muse d'Orsay - view high resolution image
This strange landscape is arguably Czanne's first masterpiece, and it was one of the 3
works exhibited by the artist at the Impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1874, where it was
purchased by Count Armand Doria. While "The Hanged Man's House" can still be considered
a Impressionist painting, the work is finished in Czanne's early and very personal style,
working the surface of the canvas with a palette knife.
PAUL CZANNE: Still life with fruit basket (the kitchen table)", 1880-1890 - Paris,
Muse d'Orsay - view high resolution image
Czanne is arguably the greatest master of still life painting of any era, and this
shining painting constitutes one of his most ambitious compositions. Where is this
basket? Placed in a very unstable position in the upper right corner of the table, or
-thanks to a complex perspective- is on the ground along with the wood piece
partially depicted at the right of the painting? Here Czanne has created a double
perspective to paint a sensational work in which the cubism begins to appear.

PAUL CZANNE: The Card Players, 1893-96 - oil on canvas, 47- 56 cm. - Paris,
Muse d'Orsay - view high resolution image
This is the smallest of the three versions of this subject painted by Paul Czanne,
but it is quite probable that it was also the last of them, and the most elaborated.
While the composition is really simple (two players facing each other, with a black
bottle silently dividing the composition in two parts) the fabulous psychological
intensity in the faces of the players make this painting a masterpiece of post-
impressionist art.

PAUL CZANNE: Mount Sainte-Victoire view from Lauves, 1904-06 - oil on


canvas, 60- 72 cm. - Basel, Kunstmuseum - view high resolution image
Paul Czanne painted many views of the Mount Sainte-Victoire in the outskirts of
Aix-en-Provence, and this beautiful work is one of the most developed versions of
all them. We can say about this work that it is cubist before the cubism: the
triangular mountain and the prairie elements -geographic or edificatory- acquire
volume by the superposition of many chromatic planes.
PAUL CZANNE: Large Bathers, 1906 - oil on canvas, 208 - 251 cm. - Philadelphia Museum of Art - view high
resolution image

This is the largest canvas Czanne ever painted, and the fabulous culmination of the "Bathers" series. The painting
is reminiscent of some Titian's finest paintings, such as the "Bacchanal of the Andrians", while the almost
sculptorical representation of the human body link this canvas with some of Michelangelo's frescoes at the Vatican.
Two other "finished" "Bathers" paintings exist, one in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the other in
the National Gallery, London.

CHARLES CONDER: A holiday in Mentone, c.1888 - oil on canvas, 46.2-60.8 cm.


- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide - view high resolution image

An English-born painter, Conder (1868-1909) emigrated to Australia when he was


20 years old, and is now considered a key figure in Australian painting. While his
Art was not well received in Australia in his era, he was praised by artists like
Pissarro or Degas, and Toulouse-Lautrect even painted a portrait of Conder in 1892.

EDGAR DEGAS: The dance class", c.1874 - oil on canvas, 83.2 x 76.8 cm - Muse
dOrsay, Paris - view high resolution image

Degas paintings of young dancers or ballerinas are among his greatest -and of
course most famous- achievements. Degas depicted these young girls as true
professionals, practicing all day long under the strict tutelage of the master. In this
canvas, the dance master appears at the center-right of the composition,
supervising the scene like an authority at the height of his powers.
EDGAR DEGAS: L'absinthe (absinthe drinkers)", 1876 - oil on canvas, 92-68 cm. -
Muse dOrsay, Paris - view high resolution image

"What a slut!", George Moore commented about the woman in this painting, adding
that "the tale is not a pleasant one, but it is a lesson", and also that "no one has
said so much in so little space, and no one has expressed in such a simple way (...)
thanks to the science of the drawing, invisible but omnipresent, almost impersonal".
The sad and melancholic "Absinthe drinkers" appears to have influenced works of
later artists, such as Picasso's interiors from the Blue Period, or Edward Hopper's
urban scenes.

PAUL GAUGUIN - "Le Christ jaune (The Yellow


Christ)", 1889 - oil on canvas, 91.1-73.4 cm. - Albright-
Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo - view high resolution image

This work is considered one of the origins of symbolist


painting, along with "The Green Christ", and can be
seen as a precedent to the religious paintings created
by Gauguin in the Polynesia ("Ia Orana Maria",
"Maternity"), but depicting Breton women instead of
Polynesian girls. The yellow Christ also appears in a
self-portrait by the artist now in the Muse d'Orsay in
Paris.

PAUL GAUGUIN - "Mata Mua (in olden times)", 1892 - oil on canvas,
91-69 cm. - Madrid, Thyssen Museum - view high resolution image

Gauguin travelled to the tropics searching an artistic redemption, a


comeback to the 'primitive' and the 'exotic' that could help him to find
a way in which his Art could be 'purified'. "Mata Mua (in olden
times)" is a powerful and fascinating composition divided in two parts
by a giant tree that majestically stands over a red and purple river.
The two women at the right represent the present of Tahiti, while the
group of women in front of a big statue of an idol represent the past,
the "primitive" Tahitian way of life.
PAUL GAUGUIN - "Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?",
1897 - oil on canvas, 139- 375 cm. - Boston, Museum of Fine Arts - view high
resolution image

This work is not only the most colossal canvas that Gauguin painted in his entire
life, but it is also the work that expound the entire philosophical and pictorial
doctrine of the artist. Structuring the canvas in an inverted chronological order,
Gauguin seems to point the primitive, the innocent, as the only one way to the
artist.

ARMAND GUILLAUMIN: "Soleil couchant


Ivry (sunset at Ivry)", 1873 - oil on canvas,
81-65 cm. - Muse dOrsay, Paris - view high
resolution image

Though not as famous as Monet, Renoir, and


others first-class Impressionist painters,
Armand Guillaumin (1841-1927) was an
important figure in the Impressionist movement. Friend of Renoir, Czanne and van
Gogh, Guillaumin is arguably the most colorist of all the Impressionist group, which
can be easily appreciated in his landscapes of Paris, the Provence and the
Mediterranean coast.

CHILDE HASSAM: "The Avenue in the rain" - 1917. Oil on


canvas - White House Museum - view high resolution image

Childe Hassam (1859-1935) was a key figure in the American


Impressionism, though his only contact with a French
Impressionist artist was when he took over Pierre Auguste
Renoirs former studio and found some of the painters oil
sketches left behind. His most famous works are the Flag
paintings, completed during World War I, and the
stunning "The Avenue in the rain" is his most 'impressionistic'
painting in the series.
KONSTANTIN KOROVIN: Spring -
1917 - oil on canvas, - The Russian
Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia - view
high resolution image

"Paris was a shock for me


Impressionists in them I found
everything for what I was scolded back at
home, in Moscow". Korovin (1861-1939)
was, along with his friend Valentin Serov,
the main figure of Russian Impressionist
painters. Highly influenced by the French
Impressionists, he developed, however, a
very personal style that mixes the typical
elements of French Impressionism with
the rich colors of Russian Art of his era.

WINSLOW HOMER: Summer night - 1890 - oil on canvas, 76.7- 102 cm.
- Paris, Muse d' Orsay - view high resolution image

When talking about Impressionism, an error is often committed when


considering it an exclusively French movement, when a few North American
painters deserve to appear not far from Monet, Degas, Pisarro Among all
them, the most important is, with no doubt, Winslow Homer, and "Summer
Night" is one of his undisputed masterpieces. The spontaneity with which the
artist represents the charm and magic of a summer night makes of this
painting one of the masterworks of American painting.