There can be few movements in art to have suffered such dramatic reversals as Impressionism. Initially it shocked conservative tastes not just for the political radicalism of its focus on the seamier side of Parisian life and leisure—sexuality, prostitution, drink—where the bourgeoisie and lower classes got adulterated, but also for the way its programmatic immediacy and rapidity issued in works that to viewers accustomed to realism seemed like scandalously unfinished sketches. The movement famously got its name in 1874 when, during its first group show, the critic Louis Leroy scoffed at Monet’s “Impression: Sunrise,” titling his review in Le Charivari “The Exhibition of the Impressionists.” But the group liked the term, and adopted it. When young Henry James saw their second show in Paris two years later, he was comparably unimpressed: “To embrace [these artists] you must be provided with a plentiful absence of...
Lasting Impressions: The Legacies of Impressionism in Contemporary Culture by Jesse Matz
Max Saunders is director of the Arts and Humanities Research Institute, professor of English and codirector of the Centre for Life-Writing Research at King’s College London. Author of Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life (1996) and Self Impression: Life-Writing, Autobiografiction, and the Forms of Modern Literature (2010), he has also edited several volumes of Ford’s writings. In 2013 he was awarded an advanced grant from the ERC for Ego-Media, a five-year collaborative project on digital life writing.
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Max Saunders; Lasting Impressions: The Legacies of Impressionism in Contemporary Culture by Jesse Matz. Twentieth-Century Literature 1 September 2018; 64 (3): 379–386. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-7142105
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