Impressionism was the modern art movement which started circa 1870 - 1880 in France, which broke with traditional Classicist style. The Impressionists focused in their painting on bright colors, light and atmosphere.
- Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author
A - F
- I am an anarchist in politics and an impressionist in art as well as a symbolist in literature. Not that I understand what these terms mean, but I take them to be all merely synonyms of pessimist.
- Light is impressionism.
- Gae Aulenti in: Time (8 December 1986) : On positioning galleries for impressionist and post impressionist paintings at the top of her design for Paris's Musée d'Orsay
- How few of our young English impressionists knew the difference between a palette and a picture! However, I believe that Walter Sickert did — sly dog!
- Aubrey Beardsley Under the Hill and Other Essays (1904) "Table Talk" p. 64
- The point to be made clear is that, whatever may be our temperament, or our power in the presence of nature, we have to render what we actually see, forgetting everything that appeared before our own time. Which, I think, should enable the artist to express his personality to the full, be it large or small. Now that I am an old man, about seventy, the sensations of colour which produce light give rise to abstractions that prevent me from covering my canvas, and from trying to define the outlines of objects when their points of contact are tenuous and delicate; with the result that my image or picture is incomplete. For another thing, the planes become confused, superimposed; hence Neo-Impressionism, where everything is outlined in black, an error which must be uncompromisingly rejected. And nature, if consulted, shows us how to achieve this aim.
- Paul Cézanne a letter to Émile Bernhard, 23 October 1905, as quoted in "Letters of the great artists – from Blake to Pollock", Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p. 180
- For an Impressionist to paint from nature is not to paint the subject, but to realize sensations.
- The most authentic Russian Impressionism leaves one perplexed if one compares it with Monet and Pissarro. Here, in the Louvre, before the canvases of Manet, Millet and others, I understood why my alliance with Russia and Russian art did not take root.
- What I am trying to do is something different — an effect of reality, but what some fools call Impressionism, a term that is usually misapplied, especially by the critics who don't hesitate to apply it to Turner, the greatest creator of mysterious effects in the whole world of art.
- Claude Debussy As quoted in The Lives of the Great Composers (1997) by Harold C. Schonberg, p. 464
- Comme nous avons mal fait de nous laisser appeler Impressionistes.
- On the other hand, the artist has much to do in the realm of color construction, which is so little explored and so obscure, and hardly dates back any farther than to the beginning of Impressionism.
- Robert Delaunay, in: Herschel Browning Chipp Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book by Artists and Critics, University of California Press, 1968, p.318
- The point is that any piece of Impressionism, whether it be prose, verse or painting, or sculpture, is the record of the impression.
- F. S. Flint German Chronicle, Poetry & Drama, vol. II, ed. Harold Munro Poetry Bookshop, London 1914
G - L
- All this could be enough -- we would leave an Impressionist painting at this stage -- probably much earlier -- and leave it possibly with great satisfaction.
- Peter Greenaway Fear of Drowning By Numbers
- Marcel Duchamp, one of this century’s pioneers, moved his work through the retinal boundaries which had been established with Impressionism into a field where language, thought and vision act upon one another. There it changed form through a complex interplay of new mental and physical materials, heralding many of the technical, mental and visual details to be found in more recent art.. ..He declared that he wanted to kill art (“for myself”) but his persistent attempts to destroy frames of reference altered our thinking, established new units of thought, a “new thought for that object”.
- Jasper Johns Marcel Duchamps 1887 – 1968, Artforum 7 no. 3, November 1968, p. 6
- No original Gauguins were to be seen in Australia, for post-impressionism was officially thought to be the vulgar effusion of five-thumbed lunatics.
M - R
- Ce n'est pas avec des idées qu'on fait des vers, c'est avec des mots.
- We do not write poems with ideas, but with words.
- Stéphane Mallarmé A remark reported in Psychologie de l'art (1927) by Henri Delacroix, p. 93; as translated in Literary Impressionism (1973), Maria Elisabeth Kronegger, p. 77
- ..the ever-present light blends with and vivifies all things. The idea was that 'nothing should be absolutely fixed,.. ..so that the bright gleam which lights the picture, or the diaphanous shadow which veils it, are only seen in passing, in the actual moment during which the viewer looks at the scene, which, composed at it is of reflected and ever-changing lights, palpitates with movement, light and life.
- Stéphane Mallarmé, quote from his article 'The ever-present light' referring to the new Paris school of oncoming Impressionism; published in Art Montly Review, 30 September 1878 in Denys Riout - as quoted in Les écrivains devant l'impressionisme, Paris, Macula 1989, pp. 88 -104.
- Impressionism is the newspaper of the [[[soul]].
- Henri Matisse, quoted in: Lilless McPherson Shilling, Linda K. Fuller (1997) Dictionary of Quotations in Communications, p. 15
- I want the to give colors intoxication, fullness, excitement, power By trying to forget Impressionism, I wanted to conquer it. In the process I was conquered. We must work with assimilated, digested Impressionism.
- Paula Modersohn-Becker, as quoted in: Ingo F. Walther (2000) Art of the 20th Century. Part 1, p. 49
- I insist upon ‘doing it alone’... I have always worked better alone and from my own impressions.
- Claude Monet in letter to his art-buyer Durand-Ruel in Paris, 1884; Quoted in: Discovering Art, – The life time and work of the World’s greatest Artists - 'MONET', K.E. Sullivan, Brockhamptonpress, London 2004, p. 51 : Painting in Northern Italy, on the edge of the Mediterranean
- Ninety per cent of the theory of Impressionist painting is in . . . Ruskin's Elements.
- Since the appearance of Impressionism, the official salons, which used to be brown, have become blue, green, and red... But peppermint or chocolate, they are still confections.
- Claude Monet (1909), as cited in: Sarah Walden (1985) The ravished image, or, How to ruin masterpieces by restoration, p. 67
- Impressionism is only direct sensation. All great painters were less or more impressionists. It is mainly a question of instinct, and much simpler than Sargent thinks. But he went on to agree that impressionists had noted how strong
- I didn't become one... As long as I can remember I've always been one.
- Claude Monet in: Claude Monet, Charles F. Stuckey (1985) Monet: a retrospective. p. 91
- Monet answering the question, how he had became an impressionist.
- My ambition is limited to capturing something transient.
- Berthe Morisot (1841-95) in: Correspondence de Berthe Morisot, ed Denis Rouart Paris (1950)
- I started out as an impressionist and that's all about observing - how people move, their voice quality, their attitudes and quirks.
- Bement [an art teacher] told me things to read. He told me of exhibitions to go and see … the two books that he told me to get were Jeromy Eddy ‘Cubists and Post-impressionism’ and Kandinsky ‘On the Spiritual of Art’ … It was some time before I really begun to use the ideas. I didn’t start at until I was down in Carolina — alone — thinking things out for myself.
- Georgia O'Keeffe Some Memories of Drawings (1976)
- Work at the same time upon water, sky, branches, ground, keeping everything going on an equal basis and unceasingly rework until you have got it. Paint generously and unhesitatingly, for it is best not to lose the first impression.
- Camille Pissarro, quote in: Paul Cézanne, Terence Maloon, Angela Gundert (1998) Classic Cézanne, p. 45
- Impressionism came about because it suddenly became apparent that pure colours mix in the eye in a more dazzling way than they have ever been mixed in paint.
- I wanted to tell you that in about 1883 there occurred a kind of break in my work. I had got to the end of 'Impressionism', and I had come to the conclusion that I didn't either how to paint or how to draw. In short, I had come to a dead end.
- Pierre-Auguste Renoir, as quoted in Renoir – his life and work, Francois Fosca, Book Club Associates /Thames and Hudson Ltd, London 1975, p. 175; Renoir's remark to Vollard
- The so-called ‘discoveries’ of the Impressionists could not have been unknown to the old masters; and if they made no use of them, it was because all great artists have renounced the use of effects. And in simplifying nature, they made it all the greater.
- Pierre-Auguste Renoir, as quoted in Renoir – his life and work, Francois Fosca, Book Club Associates /Thames and Hudson Ltd, London 1975, p. 178; Renoir’s remarks to Vollard
- An art mode, new or old, is for the creative mind essentially a point of beginning. Content is brought into being by the activity through which the artist translates the movement into himself. In such an appropriation, there is no difference between an ongoing movement and one that is finished. During the reign of Minimalism, a painter might realize the new through Impressionism. That art history has a schedule of continuous advances en masse is a fantasy of the historian. The shared syntax of art movements is constantly replaced by the sensibility and practice of individuals. The avant-garde art of yesterday is the only modern equivalent of an aesthetic tradition. The fading of the ideas of a movement does not mean that it can no longer be a stimulus to creation. At the very dawn of a movement, the work of its artists commences to replace the concept; instead of Cubism there appear Picasso, Braque, Gris. Compared to the activities to which they give rise, ideas in art have a brief life. In the last analysis, the vitality of art in our time depends on works produced by movements after they have died.
- Harold Rosenberg Art on the Edge (1975) "Shall These Bones Live?: Art Movement Ghosts" (p. 230)
- Hullo! What's this? What are these funny brown-and-olive landscapes doing in an impressionist exhibition? Brown! I ask you? Isn't it absurd for a man to go on using brown and call himself an impressionist painter?
S - Z
- After 1909, Monet drastically enlarged his brushstrokes, disintegrated his images, and broke through the taming constraints and delicacy of Impressionism for good. Nineteen gnarly paintings, starting in 1909 and carrying through his final seventeen years, finish off the notion that Monet went happily ever after into lily-land.
- Impressionism is at the root of all modern art, because it was the first movement that managed to free itself from preconceived ideas, and because it changed not only the way life was depicted but the way life was seen.
- Francesco Salvi, in Nancy Bachus The Modern Piano: The Influence of Society, Style, and Musical Trends on the Great Piano Composers, Alfred Music Publishing, 1 August 2006, p.10
- The habit of breaking up one's colour to make it brilliant dates from further back than Impressionism - Couture advocates it in a little book called 'Causeries d'Atelier' written about 1860 - it is part of the technique of Impressionism but used for quite a different reason.
- Impressionism was the name given to a certain form of observation when Monet, not content with using his eyes to see what things were or what they looked like as everybody had done before him, turned his attention to noting what took place on his own retina (as an oculist would test his own vision).
- The Neo-Impressionist does not stipple, he divides. And dividing involves... guaranteeing all benefits of light.
- Paul Signac From Delacroix to Neo-Impressionism by Paul Signac. Paris: 1899; As quoted in: Flaminio Gualdoni. Art: The Twentieth Century Rizzoli, 2008, p. 12
- Neo-Impressionist method is an attempt is made to achieve the richness of the sunlight spectrum with all its tones. An orange that blends with yellow and red, a violet that tends toward red and blue, a green between blue and yellow are, with white the sole elements. Through mixture (in the eye of the observer) of these pure colours , whose relationship can be varied at will, from the most brilliant to the greyish. Every brush stroke that is taken from the palette remains pure on the canvas.
- Paul Signac From Delacroix to Neo-Impressionism by Paul Signac. Paris: 1899
- No, mes amis, impressionism is not charlatanry, nor a formula, nor a school. I should say rather it is the bold resolve to throw all those things overboard.
- Impressions are like pearls; ideas are like the string that turns the pearls into a necklace. The string is invisible, but it is not dispensable and cannot be broken.