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Impressionism after 1900

By the turn of the century, the Impressionists had lost their cohesion, both in their style of painting and in their solidarity as a group. And gradually they were dying off: from the original group, Gustave Caillebotte died in 1894, Berthe Morisot in 1895 and Alfred Sisley in 1899.

Pissarro had contracted a chronic eye infection which forced him to work indoors, but he enjoyed a decade of prosperity and professional success until his death in 1903.

Cézanne, who died in 1906, had become increasingly withdrawn, but from 1895 his art began to exert a massive influence on the artists of the avant-garde, including Matisse and Picasso.

Both Cézanne and Renoir were regarded as non- or even anti-Impressionists. During the 1900s Renoir was hailed as the grand old man of French art, associated with the classic figurative tradition, shown in the exhibition by his sculpture Small Venus victorious. Crippled by arthritis, he went to live in the south of France, dying in Cagnes-sur-Mer at the height of his fame in 1919.

Like Renoir, Degas made sculptures in his late years. He was going blind, but his limited eyesight allowed him to model figurines in wax, studying their silhouettes against a strong light. He died in 1917.

Monet, the longest lived of the group, was now considered to be the Impressionist. He continued to paint until his death in 1926. After the decline of his reputation, lasting almost three decades, his Waterlily series (which had preoccupied him for more than 20 years) was 'rediscovered' in the 1950s, and had a delayed but profound impact on contemporary art.

Both macrocosm and microcosm, these lily ponds uncannily evoke the drift of planets through infinite space. Or, as Monet expressed it: 'An instant, an aspect of nature contains all of nature'.

Source: Maloon, Terence. Monet and the Impressionists exhibition brochure.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2008

Works in this section

Waterlilies  1905, Claude Monet.
Oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: gift of Edward Jackson Holmes

Self-portrait with a béret  c1898–99, Paul Cézanne.
Oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Charles H Bayley Picture and Painting Fund and partial gift of Elizabeth Paine Metcalf

After the bath  c1900. Edgar Degas.
Charcoal. Art Gallery of New South Wales: Margaret Hannah Olley Trust 1994

Dancers in the rehearsal room  1900–05, Edgar Degas.
Charcoal with pastel on paper, mounted on cardboard. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: gift of Arthur Wiesenberger

Small Venus victorious  1913,  Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
Bronze. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: William Francis Warden Fund

Dancer looking at the sole of her right foot  1900–10, cast 1919–21, Edgar Degas.
Bronze, cire perdue (lost wax). Art Gallery of New South Wales: bequest of Paul Haefliger 1982

In the exhibition

< Early Impressionism
< The triumph of Impressionism: the 1880s


Water Lilies  1905, Claude Monet. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: gift of Edward Jackson Holmes. Photograph © MFA, Boston
Waterlilies  1905, Claude Monet.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: gift of Edward Jackson Holmes. Photograph © MFA, Boston
> This artwork on the website of the MFA Boston

Impressions of France

La danse à la campagne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Gift of Sir John Ilott, 1959
In the Ilott Room, Level 4, Impressions of France: French prints 1850–1900 presented a selection of prints from Te Papa's collection, including works by Manet, Renoir, and Pissarro. more>