Neo-impressionism 1880 – 1890

Term applied to an avant-garde, European art movement that flourished from 1886 to 1906 The term Neo-Impressionism was coined by the art critic Félix Fénéon in a review, ‘Les Impressionistes’ (in La Vogue; Paris, 1886), of the eighth and last Impressionist exhibition Camille Pissarro had convinced his Impressionist colleagues to allow paintings by himself, his son Lucien Pissaro, Paul Signac, and Georges Seurat to be shown together in a single room, asserting a shared vision and inviting comparison Fénéon considered Albert Dubois-Pillet to be one of the ‘new Impressionists’; the group soon included Charles Angrand, Louis Hayet, Henri Edmond Cross, Léo Gausson, Hippolyte Petitjean and Maximilien Luce

Neo-Impressionism is a term coined by French art critic Félix Fénéon in 1886 to describe an art movement founded by Georges Seurat Seurat’s greatest masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, marked the beginning of this movement when it first made its appearance at an exhibition of the Société des Artistes Indépendants (Salon des Indépendants) in Paris Around this time, the peak of France’s modern era emerged and many painters were in search of new methods Followers of Neo-Impressionism, in particular, were drawn to modern urban scenes as well as landscapes and seashores Science-based interpretation of lines and colors influenced Neo-Impressionists’ characterization of their own contemporary art The Pointillist and Divisionist techniques are often mentioned in this context, because it was the dominant technique in the beginning of the Neo-impressionist movement

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Some argue that Neo-Impressionism became the first true avant-garde movement in painting The Neo-Impressionists were able to create a movement very quickly in the 19th century, partially due to its strong connection to anarchism, which set a pace for later artistic manifestations The movement and the style were an attempt to drive “harmonious” vision from modern science, anarchist theory, and late 19th-century debate around the value of academic art The artists of the movement “promised to employ optical and psycho-biological theories in pursuit of a grand synthesis of the ideal and the real, the fugitive and the essential, science and temperament”

During the emergence of Neo-Impressionism, Seurat and his followers strove to refine the impulsive and intuitive artistic mannerisms of Impressionism Neo-impressionists used disciplined networks of dots and blocks of color in their desire to instill a sense of organization and permanence In further defining the movement, Seurat incorporated the recent explanation of optic and color perceptions

There are a number of alternatives to the term “Neo-Impressionism” and each has its own nuance: Chromoluminarism was a term preferred by Georges Seurat It emphasized the studies of color and light which were central to his artistic style This term is rarely used today Divisionism, which is more commonly used, is used to describe a mode of Neo-Impressionist painting It refers to the method of applying individual strokes of complementary and contrasting colors Unlike other designations of this era, the term ‘Neo-Impressionism’ was not given as a criticism Instead, it embraces Seurat’s and his followers’ ideals in their approach to art Note: Pointillism merely describes a later technique based on divisionism in which dots of color instead of blocks of color are applied