Both collectors and modern artists alike continue to benefit from the historic movement of the French Impressionist painters. While it continues to be practiced, this art form was born during the 19th century when Claude Monet’s picture “Impression Sunrise” was highly criticized for its looser techniques. Not only did the Academie des Beau-Arts disapprove of the piece, an art critic labeled it as “impressionist” which would become the permanent name for this method of spontaneous art. From the 1860’s to the 1880’s, many French Impressionist painters joined Monet in this monumental movement including Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, and Edouard Manet.
There are distinctive techniques and tools that set this approach apart from the more structured styles that preceded it. French Impressionist painters strive to use unpredictable methods to create original pieces of art. They illustrated common landscapes and people set in natural and authentic settings. Their tendency to prefer working in the outdoors allowed them to illustrate any genuine lighting effects that may be present. The colors worked with are vivid rather than the muted tones previously preferred. French Impressionist painters worked quickly with their brushstrokes appearing unfinished. They mixed colors directly on the material as they worked, utilizing untraditional instruments such as palette knives, thicker brushes, and their fingers. In addition, they preferred the portability of easels and zinc paints in a tube form to allow for them to work outside of a studio setting.
The techniques and tools that French Impressionist painters experimented with may have gone against the conservative rules previously approved of and practiced, but they ultimately created timeless art to be collected and even imitated by future artists.