Nay, so little is he a pure naturalist, he cannot resist letting the white sides of naked nymphs gleam among his tree trunks he cannot refrain from the artist's immemorial dream of Arcady. As for Mr. Weir, surely nothing could be more unlike the instantaneousness of true impressionism than his long-brooded-over, subtle-toned, infinitely sensitive art. There is little dreaminess in the work of Mr.
It will be beyond the scope of this volume to give a complete history of French Impressionism, and to include all the attractive details to which it might lead, as regards the movement itself and the very curious epoch during which its evolution has taken place.
And so, while the increase of the artistic conscience tends in more ambitious works to brevity and impressionism, voluminous industry still marks the producer of the true romantic trash. There was no end to the ballads of Robin Hood; there is no end to the volumes about Dick Deadshot and the Avenging Nine. These two heroes are deliberately conceived as immortal.
Anne at Gliss, close to Brieg. But, in the first place, the work at Gliss is worthy of Holbein himself; I know no wood-carving that can so rivet the attention; moreover it is coloured with water-colour and not oil, so that it is tinted, not painted; and, in the second place, the Gliss triptych belongs to a date when artists held neither time nor impressionism as objects, and hence, though greatly better than the Saas-Fee chapels as regards a certain Japanese curiousness of finish and naivete of literal transcription, it cannot even enter the lists with the Saas work as regards elan and dramatic effectiveness.
Impressionism is a word that has lent itself to every kind of misinterpretation, for in its exact sense all true painting is penetrated with impressionism, but, to use the word in its most modern sense that is to say, to signify the rapid noting of illusive appearance Monet is the only painter to whom it may be reasonably applied.
But to go back a little and consider the puissant individualities, the great men who have really given its direction to and, as it were, set the pace of, the realistic movement, and for whom, in order more conveniently to consider impressionism pure and simple by itself, I have ventured to disturb the chronological sequence of evolution in French painting a sequence that, even if one care more for ideas than for chronology, it is more temerarious to vary from in things French than in any others.
This great painter, one of those who did most honour to the French soul, had the genius to create by himself an Impressionism of his own which will always remain his own, after having given evidence of gifts of the first order in the tradition handed down by the masters of the real and the good. He cannot be confused either with Monet, or with Pissarro and Renoir.
Sisley has painted a notable series of pictures in the quaint village of Moret on the outskirts of the Forest of Fontainebleau, where he died at a ripe age, and these canvases will figure among the most charming landscapes of our epoch. Sisley was a veteran of Impressionism.
As for Menzel, it would be well here to correct the notion bandied about town that he discovered impressionism before the French. He did not. He went to Paris in 1867. Meissonier at first, and later Courbet, influenced him. His Rolling Mill was painted in 1876. It is very Courbet.
For if the venial sin of Impressionism is a grotesque theory and its justification a glorious practice, its historical importance consists in its having taught people to seek the significance of art in the work itself, instead of hunting for it in the emotions and interests of the outer world. It persisted for another 300 years at least.