New Trends in the 19th & 20th Centuries




 




Art Styles in 19th century - Art Map


 




Post-Impressionism



Pointillism



 


Charles
Angrand


Theo Van Rysselberghe



see collection:


Georges Seurat

Paul Signac

Henri-Edmond Cross

 


 


Neo-Impressionism



Cezanne's rigorous research into form and structure yielded crucial results for the future of art and laid the foundations for the Cubist revolution. However, he was not the only artist to offer an alternative solution to the empirical experience of Impressionism. Georges Seurat (1859-91) attempted to replace the emotional subjectivity of the visual process with a scientific objectivity based on the laws of optics. Between 1880 and 1885, he was already working on the composition of colour and form through the analysis of light and breakdown of colour into its constituent elements. He adopted the scientific theories of Hermann Helmholtz and Fxlward Rood, which developed the discoveries of Eugene Chevreul, already well known to the Impressionists, and experimented with a new scientific painting technique. Instead of mixing the colour on the palette, the required shade was achieved on the canvas through the dense application of dots of pure colour. When perceived from a distance, the juxtaposed colours were fused into a solid image.
Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte was shown in 1886 and soon became the "manifesto" of the new technique of Pointillism. In this painting, Seurat offers a critical reworking of a popular Impressionist subject, capturing and crystallizing the scene in a strictly intellectual vision, where all form is reduced to geometric volume, and is ordered according to harmonious relations expressed in light and colour.
Seurat's experiments were supported by the critic Felix Feneon, who vouched for the scientific and methodological foundations of this artistic process and also coined the term "Neo-Impressionism"' to describe it. Other enthusiasts for the new style were Paul Signac (1863-1935) and the Impressionist artist Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) and his son Lucien. There was also the group of "young chemists", as Gauguin chose to call them, which included Charles Angrand (1854-1926), and Henri-Edmond Cross (1856-1910), as well as the Belgian artist Theo van Rysselberghe (1862-1926). Also affiliated to the movement - which would soon become a fashionable trend - were pompier painters such as Jean and Henry Martin, who immersed their traditional subject matter in halos of radiant light.
With the premature death of
Seurat in 1891, Paul Signac continued the elaboration of Pointillist theory, arriving at the conclusion that behind the scientific explanation of the technique, there was a spiritual aspect, a development that paved the way to Symbolist-style interpretations.

 

   

Georges Seurat
Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
1884-86

 

 

   


Neo-Impressionism


(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

movement in French painting of the late 19th century that reacted against the empirical realism of Impressionism by relying on systematic calculation and scientific theory to achieve predetermined visual effects. Whereas the Impressionist painters spontaneously recorded nature in terms of the fugitive effects of colour and light, the Neo-Impressionists applied scientific optical principles of light and colour to create strictly formalized compositions. Neo-Impressionism was led by Georges Seurat, who was its original theorist and most significant artist, and by Paul Signac, also an important artist and the movement's major spokesman. Other Neo-Impressionist painters were Henri-Edmond Cross, Albert Dubois-Pillet, Maximilien Luce, Théo Van Rysselberghe, and, for a time, the Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro. The group founded a Société des Artistes Indépendants in 1884.

The terms divisionism and pointillism originated in descriptions of Seurat's painting technique, in which paint was applied to the canvas in dots of contrasting pigment. A calculated arrangement of coloured dots, based on optical science, was intended to be perceived by the retina as a single hue. The entire canvas was covered with these dots, which defined form without the use of lines and bathed all objects in an intense, vibrating light. In each picture the dots were of a uniform size, calculated to harmonize with the overall size of the painting. In place of the hazy forms of Impressionism, those of Neo-Impressionism had solidity and clarity and were simplified to reveal the carefully composed relationships between them. Though the light quality was as brilliant as that of Impressionism, the general effect was of immobile, harmonious monumentality, a crystallization of the fleeting light of Impressionism.

Signac's later work showed an increasingly spontaneous use of the divisionist technique, which was more consistent with his poetic sensibility. Seurat, however, continued to adopt a theoretical approach to the study of various pictorial and technical problems, including a reduction of the expressive qualities of colour and form to scientific formulas. By the 1890s the influence of Neo-Impressionism was waning, butit was important in the early stylistic and technical development of several artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Henri Matisse.
 

 


Charles Angrand

Couple in the Street

 



Charles
Angrand

(b Criquetot-sur-Ouville, Normandy, 19 April 1854; d Rouen, 1 April 1926).

French painter. He was trained at the Académie de Peinture et de Dessin in Rouen, where he won prizes. Although he failed to gain entry to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Angrand began to win a controversial local reputation for canvases in a loosely Impressionist manner. In 1882 he secured a post as a schoolteacher at the Collège Chaptal in Paris. With this security he was able to make contacts in progressive artistic circles, and in 1884 he became a founder-member of the Salon des Indépendants. His paintings of this period depict rural interiors and kitchen gardens, combining the broken brushwork of Monet and Camille Pissarro with the tonal structure of Bastien-Lepage (e.g. In the Garden, 1884; priv. col.).

 

 

DIVISIONOSM

in painting, the practice of separating colour into individual dots or strokes of pigment. It formed the technical basis for Neo-Impressionism.

 Following the rules of contemporary colour theory, Neo-Impressionist artists such as Georges Seurat and Paul Signac applied contrasting dots of colour side by side so that, when seen from a distance, these dots would blend and be perceived by the retina as a luminous whole.

Whereas the term divisionism refers to this separation of colour and its optical effects, the term pointillism refers specifically to the technique of applying dots.


 


Charles Angrand
Hay Ricks in Normandy

 

 

Maximilien Luce
Portrait of Henri Edmond Cross

 

Henri-Edmond Cross

(b Douai, 20 May 1856; d Saint-Clair, 16 May 1910).

French painter and printmaker. The only surviving child of Alcide Delacroix, a French adventurer and failed businessman, and the British-born Fanny Woollett, he was encouraged as a youth to develop his artistic talent by his father’s cousin, Dr Auguste Soins. He enrolled in 1878 at the Ecoles Académiques de Dessin et d’Architecture in Lille, where he remained for three years under the guidance of Alphonse Colas (1818–87). He then moved to Paris and studied with Emile Dupont-Zipcy (1822–65), also from Douai, whom he listed as his teacher when exhibiting at Salons of the early 1880s. His few extant works from this period are Realist portraits and still-lifes, painted with a heavy touch and sombre palette (example in Douai, Mus. Mun.).

 


Henri-Edmond Cross
The Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli near Assisi
1909
The Hermitage at St. Petersburg
 

 
 
 
Theo Van Rysselberghe

(b Ghent, 23 Nov 1862; d St-Clair, Manche, France, 13 Dec 1926). Painter, designer and sculptor, brother of Octave Van Rysselberghe. He was enrolled in the Academie van Beeldende Kunsten in Ghent at an early age. In 1879 he became a pupil of Jean-François Portaels, director of the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, whose Orientalist works he admired. Van Rysselberghe first exhibited at the Salon in Brussels in 1881. The next year he won a travelling scholarship and, following in the footsteps of Portaels, visited Spain and Morocco. With fellow artists Darío de Regoyos and Constantin Meunier, Van Rysselberghe recorded picturesque scenes of everyday life. He exhibited these Mediterranean pictures in 1883 at L’Essor. He attended the historic meeting on 28 October 1883 at which the avant-garde exhibition society Les XX was created, and at their exhibition in 1885 he showed the results of a second Moroccan trip, including the exotic Fantasia (Brussels, Mus. A. Mod.).

 
 


Theo Van Rysselberghe
The Reading

 


Theo Van Rysselberghe
The Burnished Hour

 

 


Theo Van Rysselberghe
Sailboats and Estuary

 

 


Theo Van Rysselberghe
Hombre al Timon
 

 

 

 

The Taste for Folk Art

As the innovative and experimental artists of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism flourished, certain strongholds of tradition in the arts remained intact. One such area was that of folk costume and decorative design, a reappraisal of which had its roots in the French Revolution, when the educated classes developed a new interest in traditional dress. Paintings of village folk and scenes from traditional rural life were soon in great demand. One of the most famous of these was the series of pictures commissioned by Murat, King of Naples, which was used to decorate the royal palace. Ethnographic studies promoted great interest in the designs used to decorate everyday objects. These included the ornamental motifs that were traditionally carved into furniture; patterns embroidered onto linen, curtains, and clothing; fabric prints; shaped moulds for bread and butter; jewellery designs; motifs used in lace-making and knitting; and decorative designs on plates, candles, and religious objects. The motifs and patterns took the form of flowers, fruit, fret designs, and stylized human and animal forms. Town dwellers, trying to cope with the immense changes caused by industrialization (and offered little by the new art styles), found comfort in the visual heritage of their rural ancestors. The trend was reinforced by the municipal authorities, who held events featuring traditional village games, folk dances, and races.
 

 

 

 

GEORGES SEURAT

Georges Seurat (1859-91) studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His paintings were prepared meticulously and resembled the "monumental" art of the early Renaissance. He continued the Impressionists' studies into light and colour, developing Pointillism, which involved the use of small touches of unmixed colour. Later, he focused on more linear values. Seurat died unexpectedly at the age of 31 - his friend Signac claimed that he had "killed himself by overwork".

 

 


Georges Seurat
Bathers at Asnieres
1883-84
Nationai Gallery, London

 

   
 

Georges Seurat

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

born Dec. 2, 1859, Paris
died March 29, 1891, Paris


painter, founder of the 19th-century French school of Neo-Impressionism whose technique for portraying the play of light using tiny brushstrokes of contrasting colours became known as Pointillism. Using this techique, he created huge compositions with tiny, detached strokes of pure colour too small to be distinguished when lookingat the entire work but making his paintings shimmer with brilliance. Works in this style include “Une Baignade, Asnières” (1883–84) and “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” (1884–86).

Georges was the son of Antoine-Chrisostôme Seurat, a 44-year-old property owner, originally from Champagne, andErnestine Faivre, a Parisienne. His father, a singular personality who had been a bailiff, spent most of his time in Le Raincy, where he owned a cottage with a garden (in which Seurat often painted). The young Seurat lived primarily in Paris with his mother, his brother Émile, and his sister Marie-Berthe. At the time of the Paris Commune, in 1871, when Paris rebelled against the French state and set up its own government, the prudent family temporarily withdrew toFontainebleau.

While attending school, Georges began to draw, and, beginning in 1875, he took a course from a sculptor, Justin Lequien. He officially entered the École des Beaux-Arts in 1878, in the class of Henri Lehmann, a disciple of Ingres, whopainted portraits and conventional nudes. In the school library Seurat discovered a book that was to inspire him for the rest of his life: the Essai sur les signes inconditionnels del'art (1827; “Essay on the Unmistakable Signs of Art”), by Humbert de Superville, a painter-engraver from Geneva; it dealt with the future course of aesthetics and with the relationship between lines and images. Seurat was also impressed with the work of another Genevan aesthetician, David Sutter, who combined mathematics and musicology. Throughout his brief career, Seurat manifested an unusually strong interest in the intellectual and scientific bases of art.

In November 1879, at the age of 20, Seurat went to Brest to do his military service. There he drew the sea, beaches, and boats. When he returned to Paris the following autumn, he shared a studio with another painter, Édmond-François Aman-Jean, who then joined him in Lehmann's class. But Seurat and Aman-Jean departed from the policies of the École des Beaux-Arts in admiring the warm landscapes of Jean-Baptiste Millet at the Louvre. The two friends often frequented dance halls and cabarets in the evening, and in spring they took the passenger steamer to the island of La Grande Jatte, the setting of Seurat's future paintings. Seurat exhibited at the official Salon—the state-sponsored annual exhibition—for the first time in 1883. He displayed portraits of his mother and of his friend Aman-Jean, and in that same year he began his studies, sketches, and panels for “Une Baignade, Asnières.” When the picture was refused by the jury of the Salon in 1884, Seurat decided to participate in the foundation of the Groupe des Artistes Indépendants, an association “with neither jury nor prizes,” where he showed his “Baignade” in June.

During this period, he had seen and been strongly influencedby the monumental symbolic paintings of Puvis de Chavannes. He also met the 100-year-old chemist Michel-Eugène Chevreul and experimented with Chevreul's theories of the chromatic circle of light and studied the effects that could be achieved with the three primary colours, yellow, red, and blue, and their complements. Seurat fell in with Paul Signac, who was to become his chief disciple, and painted many rough sketches on small boards in preparation for his masterpiece, “Sunday Afternoon on theIsland of La Grande Jatte.” In December 1884 he exhibited the “Baignade” again, with the Société des Artistes Indépendents, which was to be of immense influence in the development of modern art.

Seurat spent the winter of 1885 working on the island of La Grande Jatte and the summer at Grandcamp, in Normandy. The Impressionist master Camille Pissarro, who was temporarily converted to the technique of Pointillism, was introduced to Seurat by Signac during this period. Seurat finished the painting “La Grande Jatte” and exhibited it from May 15 to June 15, 1886, at an Impressionist group show. Thispicture demonstration of his technique aroused great interest. Seurat's chief artistic associates at this time, painters also concerned with the effects of light on colour, were Signac and Pissarro. The unexpectedness of his art and the novelty of his conception excited the Belgian poet Émile Verhaeren. The critic Félix Fénéon praised Seurat's method in an avant-garde review. And Seurat's work was exhibited by the eminent dealer Durand-Ruel in Paris and in New York City.

In 1887, while he was temporarily living in a garret studio, Seurat began work on “Les Poseuses.” This painting was to be the last of his compositions on the grand scale of the “Baignade” and “La Grande Jatte”; he thought about adding a “Place Clichy” to this number but abandoned the idea. In the following year he completed “Les Poseuses” and also “La Parade.” In February 1888 he went to Brussels with Signac for a private viewing of the exposition of the Twenty (XX), a small group of independent artists, in which he showed seven canvases, including “La Grande Jatte.”

Seurat participated in the 1889 Salon des Indépendants, exhibiting landscapes. He painted Signac's portrait at this time. His residence at this point was in the Pigalle district, where he lived with his mistress, Madeleine Knobloch, a girl of 21. On Feb. 16, 1890, Madeleine presented him with a son, whom he officially acknowledged and entered in the register of births under the name of Pierre-Georges Seurat. During that year Seurat completed the painting “Le Chahut,” whichhe sent to the exhibition of the Twenty (XX) in Brussels. During that period he also painted the “Jeune Femme se poudrant,” a portrait of his mistress, though he continued to conceal his liaison with her even from his most intimate friends. He spent that summer at Gravelines, near Dunkirk, where he painted several landscapes and planned what was to be his last painting, “Le Cirque.”

As if from some sort of premonition of his impending death, Seurat showed the uncompleted “Cirque” at the eighth Salon des Indépendants. As an organizer of the exhibition, he exhausted himself in the presentation and hanging of the works. He caught a chill, developed infectious angina, and, before the exhibition was ended, he died on Easter Sunday 1891. On the following day Madeleine Knobloch presented herself at the town hall of her district to identify herself as the mother of Pierre-Georges Seurat. The child, who had contracted his father's contagious illness, died April 13, 1891. Seurat was buried in the family vault at Père Lachaise cemetery. In addition to his seven monumental paintings, he left 40 smaller paintings and sketches, about 500 drawings, and several sketchbooks. Though a modest output in terms of quantity, they show him to have been among the foremost painters of one of the greatest periods in the history of art.

Pierre Courthion
 

 

 

 

PAUL SIGNAC

Together with Seurat, Paul Signac (1863-1935) was a founder of the divisionist technique of Pointillism. With Seurat and Redon, he established the Societe des Artistes Independants in 1884. An acknowledged master of Neo-Impressionism, he wrote the definitive account of the theories of the movement in 1899. Towards the end of the century, he painted in a more abstract style, using patches of brilliant colour in an attempt to achieve greater depth of expression.

 

 

   
 

Paul Signac

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

born November 11, 1863, Paris, France
died August 15, 1935, Paris

French painter who, with Georges Seurat, developed the technique called pointillism.

When he was 18, Signac gave up the study of architecture for painting and, through Armand Guillaumin, became aconvert to the colouristic principles of Impressionism. In 1884 Signac helped found the Salon des Indépendants. There he met Seurat, whom he initiated into the broken-colour technique of Impressionism. The two went on to develop the method they called pointillism, which became the basis of Neo-Impressionism. They continued to apply pigment in minute dabs of pure colour, as had the Impressionists, but they adopted an exact, almost scientific system of applying the dots, instead of the somewhat intuitive application of theearlier masters. In watercolours Signac used the principle in a much freer manner. After 1886 he took part regularly in the annual Salon des Indépendants, to which he sent landscapes,seascapes, and decorative panels. Being a sailor, Signac traveled widely along the European coast, painting the landscapes he encountered. In his later years he painted scenes of Paris, Viviers, and other French cities.

Signac produced much critical writing and was the author of From Eugène Delacroix to Neo-Impressionism (1899) and Jongkind (1927). The former book is an exposition of pointillism, while the latter is an insightful treatise on watercolour painting.
 

 

 

 

THE SOCIETE DES ARTISTES INDEPENDANTS

In opposition to the wishes of admission panels of the official Salons, the Societe des Artistes Independants was formed in Paris in 1884; under the motto "No jury no prizes", it allowed everybody to submit their work to public exhibition and public scrutiny. Owing particularly to the initiatives of Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, and Odilon Redon , the group soon launched the work of the Neo-Impressionists in their own Salons. In its desire to embrace the most diverse and innovative artistic experiences of the Post-Impressionist generation, the society invited the unknown primitive artist Henri Rousseau to exhibit in 1886. In the following year, the group presented work by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Later, in 1911, the society introduced Cubist painting to the general public. Interest resided not only in the ideas and talents of the young artists, but also in the lessons of the great artists of the past. Homage was paid to van Gogh in 1891, and the first  Seurat retrospective was held in 1892.
 


Georges Seurat
The Circus
1890
Musee d'Orsay Paris
 

 

 

 

THE THEORY OF NEO-IMPRESSIONISM

Paul Signac expounded the scientific theory of the Pointillist painters in his essay "D'Eugene Delacroix au Neo-Impressionisme", which gave an interpretation of the expressive and emotive values of artistic composition. He stressed the value of using only pure colours, and of mixing them only when adjacent on the colour wheel: "These colours, in shades between one another and made lighter with the addition of white, will help give the range of tints of the solar spectrum and all their hues...." Signac's advice to Neo-Impressionists on composition was based on that of Delacroix, who never started work on a canvas before establishing a layout: "He will manipulate the lines (direction and angles), the chiaroscuro (tones) and colours (shades) to fit the mood he wants to predominate. The dominant line will be horizontal for calmness, ascending for joy, and descending for sadness; all other intermediate lines will represent the many remaining feelings. To add to this interplay of lines, there is an equally expressive and diverse play of colours: warm shades and light tones go with ascending lines, while cold shades and dark tones go with descending lines; a balance of warm and cool shades and pale and intense tones accompanies horizontal lines. By subjecting colour and line to the emotion he wishes to portray, the artist will be doing the job of a poet, a creator."
 


Paul Signac
Portrait of Felix Feneon
1890
Museum of Modern Art, New York
 

see collection:

Georges Seurat

Paul Signac

Henri-Edmond Cross

 

 

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