Post-Impressionism and Its Impact on Modern Art

‘Post-Impressionism’ was the successor of the ‘Impressionist’ style of painting. Famous English art critic Roger Fry organized his first exhibition in London and coined the term ‘Post-Impressionism’ to classify the artwork of the late 19th Century painters. These artists were Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, and Paul Gauguin, regarded as the pioneers and frontrunner ‘Post Impressionists.’ Georges Seurat and Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec were among other painters inspired by ‘Impressionism.’ They however, developed their own styles to enhance and emote through their art thereby, joining the club of ‘Post Impressionists.’

‘Impressionism,’ as an art movement, started in France in the late 19th Century. This style of painting concentrated on capturing the immediate mood or the visual impression of a scene with live subjects, through the effects of color and light. The ‘Post-Impressionist’ painters defied the principle of the objective recording of nature. They concentrated on bringing about more structure, form, and expression to their work in their own distinctive styles. ‘Post-Impressionists,’ like ‘Impressionists,’ used swirling brush strokes, direct colors, and real life subjects, only to differ in capturing greater emotional depth. They therefore, added new dimensions to their significantly more expressive art.

‘Post-Impressionists’ often exhibited their art together in collaboration, but preferred to work alone. Paul Cézanne abandoned the initial ‘Impressionism’ movement, as he wanted, in his words, “to make of Impressionism something solid and durable like the art in the museum.” He developed an innovative style of painting that involved breaking down objects into their fundamental shapes through the gradations of pure color. His abstract style inspired the great artist Pablo Picasso to come up with the concept of ‘Cubism.’

Paul Gauguin lived in Tahiti, and took inspiration from the rural communities & traditional living to present aesthetic art. Gauguin adapted a unique form of art created by bringing the flat exotic and sensuous color harmonies, along with heavy outline appearance of stained glass windows on the canvas. He also dealt with manuscript illuminations, where text in a manuscript is adorned by designs or by the use of gold or silver. This gave, almost, a poetic effect to his paintings.

Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh was known as a model ‘Expressionist’ painter, whose tryst with blotchy brushwork and vivid colors, elaborately reflecting emotions, earned him worldwide acclaim. Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec was another famous ‘Post-Impressionist,’ who was known for his sinuous outlining with the color schemes contrasting with ‘Impressionism.’ Georges Seurat was an expert of color theories and linear structures. He applied a technique called ‘Pointillism,’ in which he used the tiny dots of contrasting color to create an elusive and illuminating impression in his paintings.

‘Post-Impressionists’ began as ‘Impressionists,’ but drifted away from its naturalist approach. They ventured into uncharted domains, adding emotions and symbolic meaning to their art. With their peerless, independent styles and dedication to add new dimensions to artistic expressions, ‘Post-Impressionists’ dramatically influenced Modern Art of the 20th Century. Their evolved styles inspired various new concepts, like Cubism, Pointillism, Neo Impressionism, and Fauvism.

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