An ode to Impressionism
If you are an admirer of the Impressionist painters (that motley group of visionary artists who broke all the rules and redefined the notion of painting in the second half of the 19th century), this is a huge year.
The first-ever Normandy Impressionist Festival is celebrating their art with exhibitions, concerts and lectures from May through September. And the Grand Palais in Paris will show 200 of Monet’s paintings from September – the biggest Monet retrospective in France in 30 years.
Whether you are a fan or whether you want to enter the fascinating world of the Impressionists, there can be no better time than now to read one of the finest and most accessible books on the Impressionists.
Sue Roe’s The Private Lives of the Impressionists (2006) is a vivid, moving account of how the painters came together in Paris in 1860 and the 26 years in which they worked as a loose group till the art dealer Durand-Ruel introduced their work to New York in 1886 and altered the courses of their lives and fame for ever.
Concerned as much with art history and technique as their lives and loves, this is a grippingly written, heady concoction of psychodrama, thwarted ambitions, resoluteness, and competitiveness.
“The years from 1860 to 1886 were the essential years in which they shared their lives as a group,” Roe tells us, “and the story [of those years] details the true years of Impressionism”.