American Impressionism

American Impressionism

Impressionism is an art movement that began in France. Its name originated from a painting of Claude Monet in 1874 called the Impression Sunrise. The style’s trademarks include vivid color, loose brushwork, and landmarks.

Noted French painter Claude Monet himself described an Impressionist painting as more of a spontaneous work than a calculated one. Instead of focusing on the details of the image, Impressionist painters focus on the visual impression of the scene and the effect of light on it.

Impressionism became the most important art movement of the 19th century.

American Impressionism Facts for Kids

  • Impressionism emerged in France during the 1860s.
  • A place or community where artists thrive or live is called an art colony.
  • William Merritt Chase’s exhibit in New York was done in Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
  • One of the favorite hubs for Impressionist inspiration is Giverny in France, where Money settled in 1883.
  • The term Impressionismwas first used by Louis Leroy to mockingly describe the 1874 exhibition of a French style of painting by Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Degas, and Sisley.

From France, this art movement made its way to the United States after the Civil War in 1865. American art intellectuals and patrons traveled to Europe and absorbed their culture. The French Impressionist style of painting landscapes and everyday life using bright colors and rapid brushwork found a home in America.

American artists gave their own signature twist to the Impressionist style of the French. These included plunging perspectives, asymmetrical designs, and figures that were cropped.

Exhibitions of Impressionist paintings became popular in American cities. In 1886, William Merritt Chase created a series of Impressionist images about the public parks of New York.

John Singer Sargent had a vital impact on the development of American Impressionism because of his role as a conduit of ideas from Paris to America. One of his most famous Impressionist works is the 1889 painting Paul Helleu Sketching with his Wife. This is a simple portrayal of his French artist friend Paul spending quality time with his Wife — but was magnified to a different artistic level because of the Impressionist style.

Mary Cassatt and her painting Woman Sitting with a Child in Her Arms (1890) is also another hallmark of American Impressionism. She developed her painting skills with notable French artists Camille Pissarro and Degas. Her position as an American and a woman gave her a unique perspective. When she couldn’t go to male-frequented areas such as dance academies, cafes, and racecourses, she painted it using the Impressionist style.

Other artists such as Willard Metcalf and Theodore Robinson went to art colonies in Giverny and repatriated their ideas and teachings back to America.

What country did the art movement Impressionism begin?
It all began in France during the 1860s.

Why is it called Impressionism?
The origin of the term came from the painting Impression Sunrise by celebrated French artist Claude Monet.

What is the significant event that happened in US history before Impressionism made its way to America in the 1860s?
The Civil War finished in 1865 and gave a renewed reputation for the United States in the international community?

Who is credited with one of the first Impressionist exhibitions in America that led to the acceptance of Impressionism?
It was William Merritt Chase and his exhibit that showed paintings of public parks in New York.

Who painted the Impressionist art piece called Paul Helleu Sketching with his Wife?
It was John Singer Sargent in 1889.