The Galleries of the Exposition eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 103 pages of information about The Galleries of the Exposition.
or the impressionists, surprised and outraged their fellowmen with a type of picture which we see in control of this delightfully refreshing gallery.  We can testify by this time that Constable, although much opposed in his day, seems very tame to us today, and caution seems well advised before a final judgment of impressionism is passed.  The slogan of this gallery seems to be, “More light and plenty of it!” The Monet wall gives a very good idea of the impressionistic school, in seven different canvases ranging from earlier more conventional examples to some of his latest efforts.  One more fully understands the goal that these men, like Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Pissarro, and others in this gallery were striving for when, in an apparently radical way, they discarded the attitude of their predecessors, in their search for light.  It is true they encountered technical difficulties which forced them into an opacity of painting which is absolutely opposed to the smooth, sometimes licked appearance of the old masters.  Many of these men must be viewed as great experimenters, who opened up new avenues without being entirely able to realize themselves.  They are collectively known generally as impressionists, though the word “plein-airist” — luminist — has been chosen sometimes by them and by their admirers.  The neo-impressionists in pictorial principle do not differ from the impressionist.  Their technical procedure is different, and based on an optical law which proves that pure primary colours, put alongside of each other in alternating small quantities, will give, at a certain distance, a freshness and sparkle of atmosphere not attained by the earlier technical methods of the impressionistic school, which does not in the putting on of the paint differ from the old school.  Besides, this use of pure paint enabled them to have the mixing of the paint, so to speak, done on the canvas, as the various primary colours juxtaposed would produce any desired number of secondary and tertiary colours without loss of freshness.  In other words a green would be produced, not by mixing yellow and blue on the palette, but by putting a yellow dot and a blue dot alongside of each other, and so ad infinitum.  According to the form of their colour dots they were called pointillistes, poiristes, and other more or less self-explanatory names.  The service of these men to art can never be estimated too highly.  The modern school of landscape painting particularly, and other art involving indoor subjects, are based entirely on the principles Monet discovered to the profession.

Pissarro, on either end of the wall opposite the Monet, appeals more in the new method of the neo-impressionists than Monet, by reason of much more interesting subjects.  The one Pissarro on the right is of the first order from every point of view, demonstrating the superiority of the neo-impressionistic style applied to a very original and interesting subject.  “The River Seine,” by Sisley, is also wonderfully typical of this new style, while of the two Renoirs, only the still-life can really be called successful.  There is an unfortunate fuzziness in his landscape which defeats all effect of difference of texture in the various objects of which this picture is composed.

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The Galleries of the Exposition from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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