Auguste Renoir, Two women, walking to the right, c. 1890, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (former collection Koenigs)
Paul Cézanne, Rooftops of l’Estaque, c. 1878 – 1882, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (former collection Koenigs)
Edgar Degas, Dancer with Contrabass, 1880, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Legacy Vitale Bloch 1976
The Impressionists, whose loose brushstrokes, bright colours and light effects brought about a revolution in painting around 1870, were also extremely innovative draughtsmen. The medium lent itself to fleeting impressions of the landscape and urban life far better than paint – chalk and watercolours are quicker to use than oils. This summer Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents a magnificent selection of Impressionist drawings from its own collection.
Continuing Source of InspirationThe Impressionists staged their own exhibitions because their innovative works were usually not accepted for the official exhibitions of the Paris Salon. There were always drawings in the eight group exhibitions mounted between 1874 and 1886 – around forty percent of the works exhibited, far more than were on display in the Salon. Thanks to the Impressionists, drawing, traditionally a part of academic training, also became a medium of the avant-garde. Their swift method – drawing against time – and the materials they used created a new freedom in art, which was of great significance to later generations of artists, from Picasso, for whom Cézanne and Degas were important examples, to Richard Serra, whose drawings attest to his admiration for Seurat.
Impressionism is an elastic concept. Most of the artists represented here took part in the group exhibitions staged between 1874 and 1886. Also there were Seurat and Signac, who were soon dubbed Neo-Impressionists, and Cézanne and Gauguin, whose work is regarded today as Post-Impressionist, like that of Toulouse-Lautrec. These late nineteenth-century trends were not about impressions of perceived reality. Compared with the original Impressionists, these later artists took a more conceptual approach, with greater structure and abstraction.