Post Impressionism

Post Impressionism is a term which is less easy to define than Impressionism. Though the impressionists differed in personal styles and favorite subjects, one thing which was consistent between the artists was their interest in the transitory effects of light and spontaneous compositions. Though the post-impressionists are also concerned with light, it is not as much of a central concern, and their personal styles differ greatly.


Post-Impressionists extended Impressionism while rejecting its limitations. Artists continued using vivid colors, thick application of paint, distinctive brushstrokes and real-life subject matter, but the Post-Impressionists were more inclined to emphasize geometric forms, to distort form for expressive effect, and to use unnatural or arbitrary color. After a phase of uneasy dissension among the Impressionists, Paul Cézanne withdrew from the movement in 1878 in order “to make of Impressionism something solid and durable like the art of the museums.” In contrast to the passing show depicted by the Impressionists, his approach imbued landscape and still life with a monumental permanence and coherence. He abandoned the Impressionists’ virtuoso depiction of evanescent light effects in his preoccupation with the underlying structures of natural forms and the problem of unifying surface patterns with spatial depth.


As Post Impressionism developed it was related to Pointillism, a technique associated with Paul Signac and Georges Seurat. This partition of the art movement called themselves the Neo-Impressionists because of their impressionist revival. The neo-impressionists influenced the next generation inspiring Henri Matisse and André Derain in particular.