The Private Lives of the Impressionists

The Private Lives of the Impressionists

eBook - 2008
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Manet, Monet, Pissarro, CÉzanne, Renoir, Degas, Sisley, Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt. Though they were often ridiculed or ignored by their contemporaries, today astonishing sums are paid for the works of these artists, whose paintings are celebrated for their ability to capture the moment, not only in the fleeting lights of a landscape but in scenes of daily life. Their dazzling pictures are familiar-but how well does the world know the Impressionists as people? The Private Lives of the Impressionists tells their story. It is the first book to offer an intimate and lively biography of the world's most popular group of artists. In a vivid and moving narrative, biographer Sue Roe shows the Impressionists in the studios of Paris, rural lanes of Montmartre and rowdy riverside bars as Paris underwent Baron Haussmann's spectacular transformation. For more than twenty years they lived and worked together as a group, struggling to rebuild their lives after the Franco-Prussian War and supporting one another through shocked public reactions to unfamiliar canvases depicting laundresses, dancers, spring blossoms and boating scenes. This intimate, colorful, superbly researched account takes us into their homes and studios, and describes their unconventional, volatile and precarious lives, as well as the stories behind the paintings.
Publisher: Pymble, NSW ; New York, NY : HarperCollins e-books, [2008]
ISBN: 9780061790164
0061790168
9780061790157
006179015X
Branch Call Number: Overdrive eBook

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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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