Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The private lives of the impresionists

While driving around in France I finally had a chance to read "The Private Lives of the impressionists" that was recommended by an Art Business teacher last year at NYU. What convenient timing, had I read it before I would have not had the same feeling for the place Monet grew up and the places that he always went back to paint like Le Havre, Petit Dalles, Eritrat and Honfleur. I did miss out on Giverny though, that is on my must list in the future (that is where he later painted his famous Water lilies). But the book concentrated on the earlier years of hardships of some of the most celebrated painters today. Pointing out Manet as the leader but Monet and his painting:
Impression, Sunrise 1873

as the cause for the title "Impressionists". Since the critics with their early ridicule gladly pointed them out as impressionists after seeing this title, but the title works wonders in the long run. The group that it originally was linked to and the we get to know better through this book is; Monet, Manet. Pissaro, Degas, Renoir, Caillebotte, Sisley, Cezanne, Berthe Morisott and Mary Cassatt. Later the definition has been opened up to include many other artists that worked at the same time like Gauguin, Boudin, Courbet and Delacroix.

We can thank the Art Dealer Paul Durand-Ruel for the survival of these artists as Renoir said to his son:
"Durand-Ruel was a missionary. It is lucky for us that his religion was painting..."

Or as Monet told Joseph Durand-Ruel (his son) on Durand-Ruel's deathbed:
"I can never forget everything my friends and I owe your dear father"

A "Father" he was. Durand-Ruel discovered them, supported them almost to his ruin many times but never lost his belief and continued to exhibit them. As the way the book begins it ends, with him taking the impressionists paintings to New York where they finally are embraced.

And as Manet said to his friend Proust:
"Oh, I know about justice being done one day, It means you begin to live only after you're dead. I know all about that kind of justice."

Continue to live with us they certainly do, and grateful we are that they never gave up.

With Love


  1. Bazille? Great write-up! Thanks! Love 'em all! They are truly about the only great things that came out of France that they didn't steal! lol..ok, not exactly....

  2. wonderful...thanks for sharing

    Claudia xo

  3. Yes Ralph, lets not forget about Bazille. the unfortunate guy who died young at the young age of 28... He also painted with Monet in Honfleur, a gorgeous place to visit:)