Impressionist Landscape

The Impressionists were particularly experimental in their landscapes where color and brushwork were concerned. Their dynamic surfaces of brilliant, rapid strokes captured the fleeting effects of light on form—such as a shimmering river surface—with a new spontaneity. Such an approach shocked conservative critics who saw their paintings as sketches or “impressions” rather than finished works. The Impressionists favored pure, unmixed color and, in particular, pioneered the application of color to shadows in search of a greater naturalism. Their exploration of light and atmosphere was reflected in their careful study of changing seasonal effects. 

The Impressionist landscapes in the Bloch collection highlight the importance of the outlying areas of Paris as subjects for these artists. Equipped with easels and pre-mixed oil paints, the Impressionists painted outdoors, exploring the fields and rivers around the capital. In contrast to previous generations of French landscape painters; they focused on signs of modernity in the landscape. Oftentimes they represented factories, as in Armand Guillaumin’s Landscape, Île de France. Frequently they painted scenes of leisure, and particularly boating scenes, as in Gustave Caillebotte’s Boat Moored on the Seine at Argenteuil. They also painted views of urban life in the vibrant, modern city of Paris.

The landscapes here reflect the prestigious provenances of the Bloch paintings. Claude Monet’s Snow at Argenteuil once belonged to Louisine and Henry Havemeyer, the greatest American collectors of Impressionism in the early years of the twentieth century.

Camille Pissarro’s Rue Saint-Honoré, Sun Effect, Afternoon belonged to the famed actor, Edward G. Robinson.

Camille Pissarro, 1830-1903
Banks of the Seine at Port Marly (Au bord de la Seine à Port Marly), 1871
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Camille Pissarro, 1830-1903
Chestnut Grove at Louveciennes (Bois de châtaigniers à Louveciennes), 1872
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Camille Pissarro, 1830-1903
Rue Saint-Honoré, Sun Effect, Afternoon (La rue Saint-Honoré: effet de soleil, après-midi), 1898
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Claude Monet, 1840-1926
Snow at Argenteuil (Neige à Argenteuil), c. 1874-1875
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Alfred Sisley, 1839-1899
Rue de la Princesse, Winter (Rue de la princesse, l'hiver), 1875
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Alfred Sisley, 1839-1899
The Lock of Saint-Mammès (L'ecluse de Saint-Mammès), 1885
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Gustave Caillebotte, 1848-1894
Boat Moored on the Seine at Argenteuil (Bateau au mouillage sur la Seine, à Argenteuil), c. 1884
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