In Bed (1893)Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

In Bed (1893)
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Week VII: Post-Impressionism

What does a Post-Impressionist say when he’s running late? There’s no time Toulouse!

In the words of art historian John Rewald, “the term ‘Post-Impressionism’ is not a very precise one, though a very convenient one.” Post-Impressionism, as first defined by Rewald, concentrated on French art between the years of 1886 and 1892. This definition was later challenged by Alan Bowness and his collaborators, extending the period to 1914. Although the split between Impressionism and Post-Impressionism is very clearly defined, the extent of the Post-Impressionist movement remains under discussion. Currently, the term Post-Impressionism is defined, in a strictly historical manner, as French art created between 1886 and 1914 (the year of the first world war). This discussion on what should or should not be defined by this term is still ongoing — and VERY confusing!

Perhaps the reason why Post-Impressionism is such a broad term is because, after the Impressionist movement, artists could not agree on the way forward, thus creating a plethora of new, popular styles and artistic movements. Seurat and his followers popularized pointillism, a technique using tiny dots of pure color to create an image. Cezanne set out to “make of Impressionism something solid and durable, like the art of the museums”, thus creating his refined style whilst still utilizing the bright colors of Impressionism. Matisse and Derain pioneered the short-lived style of les Fauves (also known as Fauvism). Gauguin, Bernard, Anquetin, and Serusiers, among others, gave life to Cloisonnism. And some French artists, such as this movement’s founder, Braque, focused their efforts on developing Cubism (though I tend to disagree that even early French Cubism should be defined as a Post-Impressionist work). Because of the diversity among styles and ideas, Post-Impressionism is perhaps one of the most diverse periods of art history.

Nile Mosaic of Palestrina (1st Century BC)

Nile Mosaic of Palestrina (1st Century BC)

Details of Nile Mosaic of Pelstrina (1st Century BC)

Details of Nile Mosaic of Pelstrina (1st Century BC)

Alexander Mosaic (circa 100 BC)

Alexander Mosaic (circa 100 BC)

Details of Alexander Mosaic (circa 100 BC)

Details of Alexander Mosaic (circa 100 BC)

Back View of Cup of Ptolemies (1st Century BC)

Back View of Cup of Ptolemies (1st Century BC)

Frontal View of Cup of Ptolemies (1st Century BC)

Frontal View of Cup of Ptolemies (1st Century BC)

Boxer (1st Century BC)

Boxer (1st Century BC)

Boy Jockey and Horse (circa 220 BC)

Boy Jockey and Horse (circa 220 BC)