As long ago as 1846, French writer Charles Baudelaire discussed the qualities proper to specifically modern art in his essay on the French Salon. Subsequent modernity revolutionised not only the style but also themes in art…
The phrase ‘modern art’ first used by Joris-Karl Huysmans in a book title to delineate the subject matter of several paintings represented in the book in1883. The Anglo-Irish novelist, George Moore followed this in this book, ‘Modern Painting’. It was about this time that the critic Theodore Duret, who used it of certain young painters, introduced the term avant-garde (Wood 1999, pp. 7-33). Subsequently, modernity became the focal point for artists and critics, alike. How Impressionism triggered avant-garde groupings The period of 1860-1880 witnessed an undeniable transformation in the aesthetic perspective as the focus of paintings shifted to the depiction of everyday reality and fashions (Wood 1999, p. 113). Determined to present illustrations of contemporary life in both, urban and rural areas, the Impressionists pioneered this change by creating snapshots of everyday life. The war developed new urgency and hope in the progressive artists born in the 1880s. There was unanimity amongst the generation that Europe had been endowed a second chance; Salinger 1957, 117 Wood 1999, pp. 28 Wood 1999, p. 113 thereby, a new order should be established (Hungerford 1989). Impressionism, a revolutionary movement in painting followed by music, emerged at the end of the nineteenth century in France. Impressionist paintings can be traced back to the period of 1867-1886 to a party of artists with common approaches, philosophies, and methodologies in art (Huyghe 1973, p. 90). They tried to translate their observations into the paintings by attempting to recreate the manifold and animated results of sunlight and shadows from direct and reflected light. One of the most integral development out of this style was the reproduction of objects out of discrete flecks and dabs of matching or contrasting colours to evoke the broken-hued marvels and distinguishing hued created by sunlight and its reflections (Callen 1982, p. 187). Lastly, conventional formal compositions were replaced by more casual and less artificial disposition of depicted objects. The Impressionists in portraying landscapes, houses, trees, and even urban streets employed these novel-painting techniques (Callen 2000, p. 245). As the mid 1880s approached, the Impressionists began to dissolve as every painter craved to pursue his personal aesthetic interests and principles. Nonetheless, in its short-lived existence, it categorically revolutionized art, paving the way for postimpressionist artists like Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat to be free from all traditional western paintings and methodologies and interpretation of subject matter. Aftermath Impressionism was the first avant-garde in art, which paved the way for contemporary or modern art. Undeniably, the impressionists motivated novel Hungerford 1989, 73 Huyghe, 1973, 90 Callen, 1982, 187 Callen, 2000, 245 approaches, perspectives, notions amongst subsequent artists (Ward 1996, p. 168). It was the result of their relentless struggle and perseverance, that the Salon’s official foothold in the world of art was questioned. Undoubtedly, painters such as Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, and Degas encouraged new art movements, for instance, Post-impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism (Rewald 1978, p. 312). In 1886, following the official death of Impressionists, post-impressionism was born. Before these movements, the Impressionis ...
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