Cover image for Impressionism : origins, practice, reception
Impressionism : origins, practice, reception
Thomson, Belinda.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Thames & Hudson, [2000]

Physical Description:
272 pages : illustrations (some color), map ; 21 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ND547.5.I4 T483 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



During the 1870s and 1880s, a loose group of French artists, including Pissarro, Monet, and Renoir, adopted a style of painting and subject matter that challenged the art prompted by the Academie Francaise and the Salons where "official" assumptions about the meaning of painting prevailed. What has been called "the revolutionary nature of the Impressionist enterprise" emerged from political radicalism, belief in science and individualism, and a view of art true to modern life and to immediate visual perception. In all these respects, Impressionism initiated the radical tendencies of modern art. Today the revolutionary aims of Impressionist artists are generally overlooked. Impressionist art has been marketed more successfully than any other style: the price of Impressionist paintings surpasses that of the Old Masters, exhibitions draw blockbuster crowds, and books and mass reproductions are ubiquitous. In her perceptive new survey, Belinda Thomson challenges both sentimentalized and simplistic views of Impressionism. Drawing upon recently discovered documents--critical reviews and letters between artists, writers, and dealers--she illuminates the thinking and the personal lives of the artists themselves, examining the factors and experiences that allowed Impressionism to develop when it did. She investigates the family background of the Impressionists, the importance of the art market and collecting, and the influence of the critical reception to their exhibitions. 250 illustrations, 200 in color.

Author Notes

Belinda Thomson has published extensively within the fields of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. She has made a particular study of Paul Gauguin, with whom Van Gogh famously enjoyed a sustained artistic dialogue. Thames & Hudson has published two of her books, Gauguin and Impressionism: Origins, Practice, Reception, both in the World of Art Series.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

The stated goal of this work is to "offer some fresh and up-to-date insights into a well-worn field." Thomson (Gauguin, Post-Impressionism) fulfills this objective by reconsidering some common assumptions about the Impressionists' art and by expanding its social and societal aspects. She investigates the financial influences on the group, including its relationship with art dealers and its members' various family histories. The author also considers the Impressionists' choices of subject matter and style in relation to market demands and the influences of their dealers. Thomson also revisits the economic and political situation of late 19th-century Paris, noting, for example, the importance of the contemporary city planning to Impressionist subjects. This book is recommended for any public or academic library that already contains a major chronological work on the Impressionists, such as John Rewald's standard The History of Impressionism (1973. o.p.)DEric Linderman, East Cleveland P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Mapp. 6
Introductionp. 8
Part I Origins
Chapter 1 Setting the Scenep. 15
Chapter 2 The Artists of the Batignollesp. 49
Chapter 3 Personalities and Family Historiesp. 68
Chapter 4 Towards Impressionismp. 87
Part II Practice and Reception
Chapter 5 The Exhibitions and Their Critical Receptionp. 121
Chapter 6 The Impressionist Subjectp. 148
Chapter 7 Questions of Stylep. 189
Chapter 8 The Impressionists and the Art Marketp. 221
Chapter 9 The End of Impressionism and Its Legacyp. 239
Postscriptp. 259
Chronologyp. 260
Select Bibliographyp. 262
List of Illustrationsp. 265
Indexp. 269