From the end of XIX – beginning of XX centuries. various new trends in French painting came together under the name post-impressionism, which consciously opposed certain principles of impressionism.
Post-impressionism has increased interest in the philosophical and symbolic principles of art. Artists of this direction did not adhere only to visual impressions, but sought to freely and generally convey the materiality of the world, resorted to decorative stylization (P. Cezanne, Van Gogh, P. Gauguin). Post-impressionism includes the work of A. Toulouse-Lautrec, who depicted on his canvases the life of actors, circus performers, singers, dancers, regulars in cafes and bars. Paintings by J. Cera, P. Signac, some canvases by K. Pissarro, written in separate brushstrokes – pointillism is also considered to be post-impressionism.
Stages of post-impressionism. Artists
The beginning of the broad recognition of impressionism, which came in the 90s, coincided with the beginning of its disintegration as an integral current and the emergence within it of others who wanted to move on or turn in the other direction. The first included neo-Impressionists, who considered George Seurat as their leader. They were also called pointillists — they wrote in separate dotted strokes; they themselves preferred the term “divisionism” (from the word “diviser” – “to divide”).
Sera, Paul Signac, were enthusiasts of introducing scientific methods into painting. Impressionists wrote in clean, bright colors, avoiding mixing colors on a palette, but they did it not according to the system, but intuitively; rationalized youth sought to establish a strict scientific order in this economy in order to give paints more light and brilliance. Pointillists developed a system for the interaction of spectral colors, based on research by scientists in the field of optics. Young Sera, who seduced old Pissarro with the tempting secrets of his technique, exhibited at the eighth, last impressionist exhibition, the large painting “Sunday Walk in the Grand Jatt”, written in separate small strokes, dots of pure colors, based on the calculated ratio of adjacent, contrasting, warm and cold colors .
At a distance, the pads were optically merged, giving a surprisingly natural impression of light, shadow, transition from one tone to another. At the same time, something inanimate, deliberate was felt in the picture. A scheme in art, whatever it may be, is dangerous, and the more dangerous it is, the more it claims to be unique. Sera was an exceptionally gifted artist; his search for a universal “system” was a bit of a search for the absolute. He died very young, in the midst of this quest; it is not known what his future path might be.
Signac, a loyal follower of Sera, lived a long life; his artistic practice, in which he increasingly gravitated to decorativeism, was inferior in importance to his theoretical works devoted to the problems of painting. As for Pissarro, he did not remain a pointillist for long. When he exhibited his paintings painted in the new technique, it turned out that it was very difficult to distinguish them from the paintings of other pointillists. The “system” leveled the individualities, and Pissarro, without ceasing to appreciate Sera’s talent, resolutely refused it and even destroyed his belongings of this period.
Impressionism seemed to triumph in victory. His echo swept through all the countries of Europe right up to distant Russia. In France, the works of the Impressionists were sold out, the press became favorable to them, salon artists began to hastily highlight their palette. As Claude Monet wrote, “official salons, formerly brown ones, have become blue, green and pink since the times of impressionism … But candy and chocolate are just confectionery products anyway.”
Meanwhile, the climate of the era was changing and new unrecognized ones were coming in, wanting not only to continue and improve impressionism, but to challenge it and work differently. They did not have unanimity and cohesion; they did not act in groups, but alone; only conditionally they are united by the general concept of “post-impressionists” – those that came after. The first great heretic of impressionism was an artist who worked simultaneously with his founders, their companion and friend – Paul Cezanne. No one was more severely attacked by critics than he, and the Impressionists themselves – Monet, Pissarro, Renoir – did not value anyone from their midst as highly as Cezanne. And this high mark did not hesitate, but even strengthened when he moved away from them – both in the literal sense and in the direction of creative pursuits. Already in the early 80s, Cezanne retired to his estate in Aix (Provence) and rarely appeared in Paris. Fortunately, he was wealthy and could not care about livelihoods. “I decided to work silently until the day when I feel able to theoretically substantiate the results of my experiments.” He was called an eclectic hermit.