The Private Lives of the Impressionists

The Private Lives of the Impressionists

Book - 2006
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A group portrait of the Impressionist artists traces how the movement's early leaders met in the studios of Paris and lived and worked together closely for several years, supporting one another through a series of emotional and financial difficulties.
Publisher: New York : HarperCollins Publishers, 2006
ISBN: 9780060545581
0060545585
Branch Call Number: 759.409034 R62p 2006
Characteristics: viii, 356 p., [8] p. of plates : col. ill. ; 24 cm

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quagga Oct 29, 2009

The French artists who dared to paint in an entirely new way in the late nineteenth century were scorned by the arts establishment. Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Cezanne, Renoir, Degas, Morisot and others struggled to make a living through their art. Their work was rarely accepted into the yearly Paris Salon, the main venue for exhibition and sales in France.

The parts I enjoyed most in this rather dry and lengthy collective biography were the quotes from art critiques and cartoonists of the period. When one of Manet's portraits of Berthe Morisot, Repose, was displayed in the Salon, it was ridiculed with "derogatory captions that played on Manet's depictions of Berthe's darkness and disarray: A Lady Resting after Sweeping the Chimney; Seasickness; The Goddess of Slovenliness."

A small number of colour plates are bound into the book, which is helpful, but I found myself googling many more images that were not included. Roe portrayed all of the artists in their very best light, which seemed rather unrealistic to me, but I gleaned interesting information from this book and will look elsewhere for the down and dirty.

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