Celebrations of city streets, tranquil vistas of the countryside and seashore, enchanting images of the leisured classes in domestic interiors or at fashionable Parisian cafés - Impressionist paintings give pleasure to art lovers everywhere. But while Impressionism today may appear 'natural' and effortless, contemporaries were shocked by the loose handling of paint and the practice of painting out-of-doors. In defiance of the official Salon, the Impressionists created an art that reflected modern life and captured the immediacy of the fleeting moment.
James Rubin brings together the most recent research to provide av accessible the philosophical, political and social background to the movement, from Baudelaire's conception of the painter of modern life to the effect of tourism on Monet's choice of motif, the burgeoning art market, and the impact of nineteenth-century notions about gender, race and criminality on the work of Degas. As well as the acknowledged masters, Our attention is drawn to important, lesser known Impressionists, including Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt, who thrived in a milieu in which only the most talented women could succeed. Rubin also examines the work of Cézanne and his relationship to the group. Finally, the book explores the legacy of impressionism and its enduring appeal.