Neo-Impressionist Painters: A Sourcebook on Georges Seurat, Camille Pissarro, Paul Signac, Theo Van Rysselberghe, Henri Edmond Cross, Charles Angrand, Maximilien Luce, and Albert Dubois-Pillet

Neo-Impressionist Painters: A Sourcebook on Georges Seurat, Camille Pissarro, Paul Signac, Theo Van Rysselberghe, Henri Edmond Cross, Charles Angrand, Maximilien Luce, and Albert Dubois-Pillet

Neo-Impressionist Painters: A Sourcebook on Georges Seurat, Camille Pissarro, Paul Signac, Theo Van Rysselberghe, Henri Edmond Cross, Charles Angrand, Maximilien Luce, and Albert Dubois-Pillet

Neo-Impressionist Painters: A Sourcebook on Georges Seurat, Camille Pissarro, Paul Signac, Theo Van Rysselberghe, Henri Edmond Cross, Charles Angrand, Maximilien Luce, and Albert Dubois-Pillet

Synopsis

This reference provides biographical, historical, and critical information on Neo-Impressionist painting and its most significant painters. Neo-Impressionism, also called Divisionism and Pointillism, was one of the most innovative and startling late 19th-century French avant-garde styles. Over 2,000 books, articles, manuscripts, and audiovisual materials as well as chronologies, biographical sketches, and exhibition lists are cited. Also provided are both primary and secondary bibliographies for each artist. Secondary bibliographies capture details about each artist's life and career, relationships with other artists, work in various media, iconography, critical reception and interpretation, archival sources and more.

Excerpt

The young avant-garde art critic and champion Félix Fénéon (1861-1944) coined the term "Neo-Impressionism" in a review of the Eighth and last Impressionist exhibition in the spring of 1886. Camille Pissarro, an ardent Neo-Impressionist since earlier that year after encounteringGeorges Seurat radical new optical painting in late 1885, had persuaded Impressionist colleagues to allow paintings by himself, Seurat, Paul Signac, and his son Lucien Pissarro to hang together in the same room. Pissarro, at age 56 a generation older than his new colleagues, proudly referred to the new style as "scientific Impressionism" to distinguish it from the "romantic Impressionism" of Monet, Renoir, Sisley, and other Impressionists.Seurat La Grande Jatte (1884-86) stole the show as the largest and most controversial picture on view.

The novelty of these oddly luminescent, "mechanical" paintings comprised of tiny dots of pure colors startled audiences, critics, and the older Impressionists. Instead of random, variable brush strokes meant to express the sensations and optics of nature, there were uniform touches of pure hues (called points in French, hence "pointillism"), supposedly applied according to scientific principles and chromatic theories. Instead of colors mixed on the palette, areas of harmonious and contrasting colors were mixed optically by viewers, creating dazzling effects of heightened luminosity, even vibration that the NeoImpressionists called "divisionism."

Similar to the Impressionists, however, the Neos adhered to basic tenets of French modernism: rejection of traditional academic methods of pictorial composition, preference for landscapes and scenes of everyday life instead of historical and religious subjects, and paintings that conveyed a sense of disillusionment with urbanization and capitalism. Small dots allowed the Neos to paint on dry areas of the canvas, in contrast to the Impressionists' technique of layered wet strokes designed to capture changing conditions of light and atmosphere. The new procedure was painstaking and tedious for some Neo-Impressionists. For Seurat and a few others in the group, the passion for color dots even extended to the borders around the canvasses.Seurat unwieldy name for the style was chromoluminarism.

Neo-Impressionism was developed by Seurat in the early 1880s through study and experimentation with 19th-century scientific theories of color and light. Towards the end of his life, Seurat detailed his search for an optical formula of painting in a letter dated June 20, 1890 to the critic Félix Fénéon. In the letter, he cites the influence of the aestheticians Charles Blanc and David Sutter, the chemist Michel-Eugène Chevreul, the American . . .

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