The Impressionist artists rejected the ideas of Realism Artists in the 1870s and 1880s. Using colorful brush strokes, they aimed to incorporate a more dramatic style similar to the Romantic artists of the early 19th century.
From 1886 to 1905, a new art movement emerged in reaction to the simple ideas of Impressionism. The term Post-Impressionist was first used in 1906 by the English art critic and painter Roger Fry. He defined this movement as an art movement that emerged as a reaction to the art of French Claude Monet and Edouard Manet.
While Post-Impressionist artists often exhibited their work together, they did not always agree on the characteristics of Post-Impressionism. This movement was therefore not necessarily unified.
Post-Impressionists were simply dissatisfied with Impressionism; its lack of structure and trivial subjects made it a movement that could not be carried forward into modern times.
Paul Cézanne wanted to change this, aiming to “make of Impressionism something solid and durable, like the art of museums.” He wanted to restore order and structure to painting.
One overarching commonality, however, was the preference for abstraction over naturalism. Some, like Seurat, took a more rigorous, scientific approach to their depictions than others. By the way, Gauguin was interested in the separation of single colors.
So what is Post-Impressionism? Who were the most famous Post-Impressionist Artists? You will also find the famous works of Post-Impressionist Painters you need to know in detail in this content.
What is Post-Impressionism Art?
Post-Impressionism features consist of bright colors and subtle, visible use of paint, as well as real-life subjects – all of which are also characteristics of Impressionism. However, the artists of this new movement rejected the limitations of Impressionism.
They played with geometric, distorted forms and used colors that are usually not found in nature. Artists such as Seurat and Camille Pissarro experimented with the technique of pointillism (what Pissarro called Scientific Impressionism) using tiny dots of color in their work.
Paul Cézanne worked with the saturated, natural colors found in Impressionism, but focused on depicting the basic shapes of objects. Meanwhile, Van Gogh used very distinctive brush strokes; He preferred bright colors to express himself and his mood in general.
Top 8 Famous Post-Impressionist Artists and Their Masterpieces
1- Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
Van Gogh is arguably one of the most famous artists in art history. This is due not only to his tragic suicide in 1890 but also to his highly prolific career and the extensive work he left behind.
Although he may not seem to have been successful throughout his life, he painted some of the world’s most famous paintings, such as ‘The Starry Night’, ‘The Potato Eaters’ and ‘Café Terrace at Night’.
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2- Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
One of the best-known post-Impressionist painters, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was best known for his involvement in Parisian theatrical life in the late 19th century.
He is the artist who ensured that the poster, which was considered second-class until his era, gained value as art.
Although he belongs to a deep-rooted French family, he did not spend his life among the aristocrats, but in the entertainment life of the slums, which the aristocrats despised.
He gained great fame, especially with his paintings depicting the Moulin Rouge pavilion.
The painter, who died at the age of 36, produced many works in his very short life and became one of the most well-known painters of the Art Impressionism movement, together with painters such as Van Gogh.
His paintings are exhibited in world-famous art galleries today.
3- Henri Edmond-Cross (1856-1910)
Henri Edmond-Cross was a master of Neo-Impressionism with a heavy influence on Henri Matisse and many other artists, as well as on the development of Fauvism, which followed post-Impressionism.
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His early works, portraits, and still lifes were in the dark colors of realism, but after meeting Claude Monet in 1883 he painted in the brighter colors of Impressionism.
In 1884, Cross founded the Société des Artistes Indépendants (Society of Independent Artists) with Georges Seurat.
He continued to be one of the main proponents of Neo-Impressionism.
4- Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)
Paul Cézanne is considered the father of Post-Impressionism.
His work defined a completely new style that laid the foundation of art in the early 20th century and beyond. His paintings have inspired the likes of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse and numerous artists to follow, making him one of the most inspiring Post-Impressionist artists.
Similar to Van Gogh’s brushstrokes, his work is easily recognizable as it mostly consists of relatively small brushstrokes that grow into complex subjects.
One of these works is called ‘The Card Players’ and has a valuation of about $300 million today!
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5- Georges Seurat (1859-1891)
Georges Seurat is another French artist who is the creator of pointillism, a style in which the subject fields of the painting are created by colors that consist of individual dots.
Despite his extreme talent, he didn’t live long enough to fully fulfill his promise and died at the young age of 31.
Regardless, his most famous work is called A Sunday on La Grande Jatte and is considered the most important work of Post-Impressionism.
More importantly, it is considered one of the defining paintings of the end of the 19th century, and this work will continue to change the course of art for decades to come.
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6- Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)
Paul Gauguin is another artist who wasn’t appreciated during his lifetime, similar to Vincent van Gogh with whom he spent 9 weeks together at the Yellow House in Arles in 1888.
This period eventually culminated in Vincent cutting off part of his left ear.
Paul Gauguin incorporated a Synthetic style into his works which were defined by his experimental use of color.
He spent ten years in French Polynesia in the latter half of his life, which is why a lot of his work from this period involved exotic subject matter, including landscapes and people from this part of the world.
His work eventually became a great source of inspiration for modern artists.
7- Paul Signac (1863-1935)
Paul Signac is best known for working closely with Georges Seurat to develop the pointillism style (pointillism).
He originally trained to be an architect and at the age of 18 decided to become a painter after visiting an exhibition by Claude Monet. Considering that he is now considered one of the most famous Post-Impressionists, we can say that this was a great decision for all art lovers.
Many of his works are about the French coast, which Signac loved to paint. He is also known for his work with Vincent van Gogh, including riverscapes and cafes in Paris.
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He is one of the founding members of the Société des Artistes Indépendants (Society of Independent Artists) and was its president from 1908 until his death.
8- Henri Rousseau (1844-1910)
Henri Rousseau is another late bloomer because he didn’t start to take his painting seriously until he was in his early 40s.
Before becoming a painter, he had a regular job as a toll and tax officer which earned him the nickname ‘Le Douanier’ (The customs officer).
At the age of 49, he finally decided to say goodbye to his day job and become a professional painter.
This also means that he was for the most part self-taught and painted from his heart rather than any formal education or influence from other painters. For this reason, it has often been ridiculed by contemporary critics. However, this situation has changed over time, and today Henri Rousseau is considered one of the greatest self-taught geniuses in the history of art.
Many of his most famous paintings depict forest scenes.