During the early nineteenth century freedom of expression was almost foreign to the art world.
The now famous l863 Parisian Salon des Refuses proved to be a landmark in the history of Modern art.
Napoleon III set up the Salon des Refuses to appease those painters (Monet, Manet, Pissarro, Whistler,Jongkind and others) who were insulted by the rejection of their works by the official Salon. Artists who had gone against established and acceptable painting techniques were given, for the first time, the right to a public viewing and this exhibition marked the beginning of an artistic independence. 1
Dusseldorf, Munich and Paris were the three leading art meccas of the nineteenth century.
Although Eugene Delacroix (1799-1863) had taken an independent stand against the value of technical painting as the Academicians taught it, it was Claude Monet (1840-1926) who revolutionized art by organizing an independent group of artists who would exhibit their recalcitrant canvases in an 1874 show which would shock critics and public alike.
The show opened April 15, 1874, and when Louis Leroy characterized the entire exhibit as an “Exhibition of Impressionists”, a title meant in jest and cued from Monet’s painting Impression Sunrise (l872). the names “Impressionist” and “Impressionism” were born. 2
Under the banner of “Impressionism” painters launched an innovative concept ofRenoir – Luncheon of the Boating Party naturalism, showing new impressions of the visible world rather than the imitation of exact appearances. They perceived light as color sensations and were concerned with the effects of a fluid play of light.
Color sensations were perceived as constantly changing, and forms as light reflected from a surface, while shadows were shown to be lights of a a lower intensity.
Light, not subject matter, became the most important aspect of their painting and this was foreign to the the Salon painters’ ideology. Variations of hue and intensity of light were stressed.
The Impressionists were not dramatically concerned with line. They applied their paint to the canvas in small daubs and dashes of paint in order to heighten the effect of vibrations and changes of light effects.