12-Post-Impressionism-Expressionism -...

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012_Post-Impressionism-Expressionism.doc READINGS: POST-IMPRESSIONISM AND EXPRESSIONISM Background Van Gogh, Letters Background: Eugen Weber, Expressionism Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art Bahr, Expressionism Kafka, Selections GROVEART.COM POST-IMPRESSIONISM Term applied to the reaction against Impressionism led by Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and Georges Seurat. It can be roughly dated from 1886, the year of the last Impressionist exhibition, to c. 1905, when Fauvism appeared and the first moves towards Cubism were made. While it was predominantly a French movement, there were related developments in other countries, which often occurred somewhat later. Post-Impressionism can be loosely defined as a rejection of the Impressionists’ concern for the naturalistic depiction of light and colour in favour of an emphasis on abstract qualities or symbolic content. It therefore includes Neo-impressionism , Symbolism , Cloisonnism , Synthetism and the later work of some Impressionists. The term was coined in 1910 by the English critic and painter Roger Fry for an exhibition of late 19th-century French painting, drawing and sculpture that he organized at the Grafton Galleries in London. 1. History and application of the term. After considering more substantive terms such as ‘expressionism’, Fry settled on ‘Post-Impressionism’ for the title of the exhibition at the Grafton Galleries in 1910–11, as this did no more than point out that the Post-Impressionists came after the Impressionists. From the beginning he admitted that the label was not descriptive of a single style. The catalogue preface, written by Fry with Desmond MacCarthy, secretary to the gallery, but not signed by either, begins (1910–11 exh. cat., p. 7): The pictures collected together in the present exhibition are the work of a group of artists who cannot be defined by any single term. The term ‘Synthetists’, which has been applied to them by learned criticism, does indeed express a shared quality underlying their diversity; and it is the critical business of this introduction to expand the meaning of that word, which sounds too much like the hiss of an angry gander to be a happy appellation. For Fry and MacCarthy the only common denominator between the Post-Impressionist painters was their rejection of Impressionism (1910–11 exh. cat., p. 7): In no school does individual temperament count for more. In fact, it is the boast of those who believe in this school, that its methods enable the individuality of the artist to find completer self-expression in his work than is possible to those who have committed themselves to representing objects more literally … the Post- Impressionists consider the Impressionists too naturalistic. The full title of the exhibition was Manet and the Post-Impressionists , although Manet was represented by fewer works (nine) than the painters of the next generation. There were, for example, forty-six works by Gauguin, twenty-five by van Gogh and twenty-one by Cézanne. Other artists whose work was shown included Seurat (two works), Paul Sérusier (five), Maurice Denis (five), Félix Vallotton (four) and Odilon Redon (three).
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This note was uploaded on 02/15/2011 for the course HISTORY 106 taught by Professor Dennis during the Spring '11 term at Loyola Chicago.

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12-Post-Impressionism-Expressionism -...

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