Impressionism at the de Young

The Garre Saint-Lazare,1877, Claude Monet

Impressionism is the art of the disruptive.

That was my impression of this magnificent exhibit the Pontz and I just visited at the de Young. We just had a ridiculously dope afternoon cruising around this tremendous exhibition of Impressionist art on loan from the Musee D’Orsay. Dude.

The history of the period is epic. During the latter part of the 19th century, the salons of France were controlled by the wealthy — religious and governmental officials, the rich, the aristocracy — all the muckety mucks who had the cash and influence were supporting artists who painted these bland religious scenes of the virgin and the resurrection and such. Prominence was given to those artists who worked in the old Baroque style, and the greatest depictions were of grandiose themes of the antiquities.

Along came the Impressionists. This loose collection of individuals held their own exhibitions during the 1870’s and 80’s, painting the world as they lived it, stirring up trouble with the establishment.

Rafaelli’s, The Absinthe Drinkers embodies this new approach. You can feel the harshness of their lives, the sorrow of their addiction.

The Absinthe Drinkers, 1881, Jean-Francois Rafaelli

I call this one, Kyle vs. Millican.


Kyle vs. Millican, 2010, S++

And this one …


Carlos-Duran-Pontz, 2010, S++

This one was friggin rad.

A lot of this work was focused on the natural world — painting life as we saw it, naked in its authenticity. My eyes would wander around the canvas, lurching my thoughts from happiness to sorrow as I moved from corner to corner.

Spring, 1868-1873 Jean-Francois Millet

The exhibition was laid out extremely well, walking us through the history of the period.

In 1870-71 Paris was seized by the Prussian Army. A lot of these artistic dudes fought during this period, known as the Commune of Paris. And their only way to communicate with the outside world — hot air balloons and messenger pigeons. Rad.

Not sure who painted this one, but it totally is in line with my blog narrative

Indeed, these guys were legit.

Playing with color and shading, bringing out issues of every-day living, depicting the world as it was.

Moonlight Over The Port Of Boulogne, 1869, Edouard Manet

Manet, to an extent, stood apart from this group. He recognized the brilliance of what they were doing, but also was totally down with the fame afforded to him as a prominent painter with the Salons.

This is of one of his best friends, Mallarme, a poet he spent nearly every day with for 10 years, discussing the huge ideas — art, life, the meaning of it all, etc. etc. — Damn I would love to jump into something like that.

Stephane Mallarme, 1876, Edouard Manet

Pleasant, so damn pleasant.

A cool Pissarro painting, forgot to document it’s title, but super cool nonetheless

Sisley was the Impressionist I could most connect with. His meticulous use of the geometrical, angling the main elements of his painting with clean 90 degree pureness, sharp and polished lines, the richness of season … This dude really, really appealed to me.

Snow at Louveciennes, 1874, Alfred Sisley

And Renoir … Renoir was the chill one.

During our audio tour (ohh, a quick aside, always do the friggin audio tour, it’s legit) I found out that Renoir had once said something like he painted scenes he wanted to be a part of. People relaxing, mellowing it out with cool outdoor parties … I sorta feel like I blog the life I want to lead at times … An idea not too far from his.

The Swing, 1876, Paul Auguste Renoir

In 1874 these Impressionist dudes held their first exhibition … Pissarro rolled out to this fiesta like a true baller, rocking this masterpiece.

Hoarfrost, 1873, Camille Pissarro

The paintings of the Salons were not just high-faluting stuff glorifying the classics, they were also these stuffy commissions of rich folks, standing like they’re all hot shit.

Below, Degas painted a great work showing a more trivial side of the idle rich. Once again exhibiting the disruption of the times’ artistic standards, brining out life as it is, not how your paid to show it.

The Pedicure, 1873, Edgar Degas

And Pissarro … I mean, are you kidding me?! … He is a stud.

Path Through The Woods, Summer, 1877, Camille Pissarro

During the tour the narrator brought up a really cool point … These dudes were not only working during a disruptive period of art, but technological innovation was going nuts all around them as well. And one of the most crucial elements contributing to the rise of these counter-culture Impressionist homeys was the ability to put paint in a little squeezable tin. Kinda funny how something we take so for granted, the mass availability of paint, totally turned the tide for these cats.

Cezanne I’m sure revelled in the ability to hack where he wanted to hack.

The Gulf of Marseille From L’Estaque, 18718-1879, Paul Cezanne

Indeed Cezanne was a huge G in this movement … They said that he was one of the main influences for Picasso and the cubist dudes.


Still Life With A Soup Tureen, 1873-1874, Paul Cezanne

… And we capped it off with a beer on the patio.

… What a day.

From Impressionism at the de Young