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15: Europe in the Late 1800s

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    A new creative freedom begins with A Burial at Ornans and evolves with the French Realist painters and those who follow. We look at the work of Manet and see the start of treating the canvas as a flat plane with color added. That concept of flattening the visual field will be explored with an emphasis on color, shape, and composition. External influences like the imported prints from Japan will also open up new ways of representing shapes and forms. It is an exciting time in art as Europe races towards the new century with people either feeling thrilled with the energy and new technologies or overwhelmed by the increased speed by which the world is changing. Techniques in painting change because of the studies of color theory and the industrial application of tubes for paint. Paint in tubes allows artists to more effectively paint outside the studio since the tubes are portable. In previous centuries, art styles evolved slowly, sometimes taking 100 years to be adopted across Europe. During this era, we see styles emerging and lasting for decades rather than centuries. Art Nouveau emerges through the work of Alphonse Mucha and gains much popularity around 1890, but by 1910 it is loosing popularity. We are soon to see a rapid move to modern concepts and the exploration of new directions in art. Manifestos are written pushing ideas about the functions of visual art and challenging traditional concepts. William Morris will advocate for quality in art and architecture rather than poorly mass-produced works. In Glasgow and Vienna, new styles emerge as well in response to the Arts and Crafts Movement by Morris. Impressionist painting evolves into Post-Impressionism exploring dramatic applications of paint and subjects. The most popular paintings of all time are created by Impressionists and Post-Impressionist artists such as Renoir and Vincent Van Gogh. It is all leading up to the 20th century Modern Movement that will revolutionize art as we know it.


    Mont Sainte-Victoire, 1885-87 Paul Cézanne


    Still Life With Apples in a Bowl, 1879-83, Paul Cézanne


    Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen From Bibemus Quarry, 1897-1900, Paul Cézanne

    With the paintings of Cézanne, we see a continuation of Manet's flattening of the canvas by use of color. Note the color (hue) intensity, and values become more and more similar in Cézanne's paintings as the decades progress. This move away from traditional ways of painting still-life, landscapes, and portraits moves visual art forward towards a new, modern interpretation of representing form. Painting in the open air, outdoors, continues with the work of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.



    A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884-86 Georges Seurat 

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    Georges Seurat (1859-1891)

    Known for Pointillism:

    Pointillism is a technique of Post-Impressionist painting using tiny dots of various pure colors, which become blended in the viewer's eye. It was developed by Seurat with the aim of producing a greater degree of luminosity and brilliance of color. Although technically not a grid, there is a systematic application of the tiny dots of color creating a similar organized rhythm within the painting.


    La Goulue, 1891 Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec


    Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec


    The Potato Eaters, 1885 Vincent Van Gogh


    The two paintings were both painted by the Dutch artist Van Gogh. Obviously both are significantly different! The first (dark) painting titled The Potato Eaters (Dutch: De Aardappeleters) is an oil painting painted in April 1885 in Nuenen, Netherlands. It is in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

    The second (bright) painting was created during a period when Van Gogh lived in France and shows the influence of the Post-Impressionist art style. Also, the painting shows bold brush strokes using complimentary colors side by side to increase luminosity.

    Of course, in this case, the more you know about the context of these paintings by Van Gogh, the more you’ll be able to appreciate them.



    Night Café, 1888 Vincent Van Gogh


    Starry Night, 1889 Vincent Van Gogh


    The Vision After the Sermon, 1888 Paul Gaugin


    Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? 1897 Paul Gaugin


    The Dream, 1910 Henri Rousseau


    The Scream, 1893 Edvard Munch


    Job, 1896, Alphone Mucha



    Salomé, 1892 Aubrey Beardsley Pen and Ink, 6" x 11"

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    The work by Aubrey Beardsley (right side) shows Japanese influence.


    The Kiss, 1907-1908 Gustav Klimt

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    The Gates of Hell, Auguste Rodin. 1880-1900                            The Thinker, 1879-1887 Auguste Rodin


    Burghers of Calais, 1884-89 Auguste Rodin



    A Wooded Landscape in Three Panels, 1905 Louis Comfort Tiffany

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    Victor Horta, Interior stairwell of the Tassel House, Brussels, 1892-93                Hector Guimard, Métro Station, Paris 1900

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    Casa Milà, Barcelona, Antoni Gaudi

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    The Glasgow Four formed a school of art in Scotland with their own response to the Arts and Crafts Movement and Art Nouveau.


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    Frank Lloyd Wright




    15: Europe in the Late 1800s is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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