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term coined by Roger Fry to refer to the work of a number of French painters active at the end of the 19th cent. who, although they developed their varied styles quite independently, were united in their rejection of impressionismimpressionism,
in painting, late-19th-century French school that was generally characterized by the attempt to depict transitory visual impressions, often painted directly from nature, and by the use of pure, broken color to achieve brilliance and luminosity.
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. The foremost of these were CézanneCézanne, Paul
, 1839–1906, French painter, b. Aix-en-Provence. Cézanne was the leading figure in the revolution toward abstraction in modern painting.
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, Van GoghVan Gogh, Vincent
, 1853–90, postimpressionist painter, b. the Netherlands. Van Gogh's works are perhaps better known generally than those of any other painter. His brief, turbulent, and tragic life is thought to epitomize the mad genius legend.
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, GauguinGauguin, Paul
, 1848–1903, French painter and woodcut artist, b. Paris; son of a journalist and a French-Peruvian mother. Early Life

Gauguin spent the first six years of his life with his family in Lima Peru; as an adolescent he was a sailor in the French
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, MatisseMatisse, Henri
, 1869–1954, French painter, sculptor, and lithographer. Along with Picasso, Matisse is considered one of the two foremost artists of the modern period. His contribution to 20th-century art is inestimably great.
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, PicassoPicasso, Pablo
(Pablo Ruiz y Picasso) , 1881–1973, Spanish painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and ceramist, who worked in France. He is generally considered in his technical virtuosity, enormous versatility, and incredible originality and prolificity to have been the
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, and BraqueBraque, Georges
, 1882–1963, French painter. He joined the artists involved in developing fauvism in 1905, and at l'Estaque c.1909 he was profoundly influenced by Cézanne.
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. The first major exhibitions of their works were held in London in 1910–11 and in 1912. The term embraces a far wider school of thought than the neoimpressionism of SeuratSeurat, Georges
, 1859–91, French neoimpressionist painter. He devised the pointillist technique of painting in tiny dots of pure color. His method, called divisionism, was a systematic refinement of the broken color of the impressionists.
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 and SignacSignac, Paul
, 1863–1935, French neoimpressionist painter. First influenced by Monet, he was later associated with Seurat in developing the divisionist technique. Interested in the science of color, he painted with a greater intensity and with broader strokes than Seurat.
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. In this more systematic and precise approach, also called divisionism or pointillism, small dabs of pure color on the canvas were meant to be mixed by the eye of the viewer to produce intense color effects.


See studies by J. Rewald (1962) and L. Nochlin (1966).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a conventional designation for the principal movements of French painting in the late 19th century and the early years of the 20th century.

As early as the mid-1880’s the postimpressionists, most of whom had formerly been part of the impressionist movement, sought new figurative means that were, in their opinion, more in harmony with the times. They attempted to overcome empirical artistic thinking and to abandon representations of life’s fleeting moments in favor of its lasting spiritual and material states. Reflected in postimpressionism were almost all the decadent features of Western European culture of that time—its complicated changes and the agonizing and contradictory experimentation by artists of stable intellectual and moral values. The postimpressionist period is characterized by the mutual influences of artistic movements and the distinctive work of individual artists.

Although a number of postimpressionist tendencies, such as neo-impressionism, symbolism, and the nabis (a French art nouveau movement), are qualitatively confined within the temporal limits referred to above, the work of their leading masters, owing to the problems which they raised, is the basis of 20th-century figurative art. The foremost postimpressionist artists included Cézanne, van Gogh, Gauguin, and Toulouse Lautrec.


Rewald, J. Postimpressionizm. Leningrad-Moscow, 1962. (Translated from English.)
Prokof”ev, V. N. Postimpressionizm (album). Moscow, 1973.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a movement in painting in France at the end of the 19th century, begun by Paul Cézanne (1839--1906) and exemplified by Paul Gauguin (1848--1903), Vincent Van Gogh (1853--90), and Henri Matisse (1869--1954), which rejected the naturalism and momentary effects of impressionism but adapted its use of pure colour to paint subjects with greater subjective emotion
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
During his first thirty years as a painter, he moved restlessly from impressionism and postimpressionism through fauvism, orphism, cubism, dada, and surrealism, after which he skidded off on an idiosyncratic course that briefly visited many styles without settling into any one of them.
Heinrich Wolfflin (1864-1945) developed a critical framework for evaluating, dating, and authenticating works of art based on formalist analysis in his Principles of Art History (1915), and the Englishmen Roger Fry and Clive Bell would later promote postimpressionism on mostly formalist grounds.
Auden"), nature, vignettes of city life in Russia ("A Veteran"), synesthetic conceits ("After Postimpressionism," featuring a marvelous image of white on white), poems on the poet's craft, gnomic and confessional poems, and, first and foremost, poems on the times, in Russia and in the world.
It goes something like the following: With Manet, impressionism, and/or postimpressionism, a new model of visual representation and perception emerges that constitutes a break with several centuries of another model of vision, loosely definable as Renaissance, perspectival, or normative.
The great master of postimpressionism and perhaps the greatest figure in modern French painting, Cezanne was born in Aix - en - Provence, the son of a banker.
His art sits between Impressionism and Postimpressionism and was also appreciated by the Symbolists.
Most of the artists who showed with FAM were painters and sculptors working within a figurative tradition, and their works represented a range of stylistic trends, from postimpressionism to late cubism.
Extremely well written and critically comprehensive, the essay concentrates on "the rise of formalist, high modernism's Woolf, with attention also to the place of Bloomsbury aesthetics, and of postimpressionism and the visual arts" (40).
He is undergoing something of a re-evaluation by scholars, some of whom see his work as crucial to the development of PostImpressionism and Symbolism, inspiring more celebrated artists such as Gaugin, Picasso, Seurat and Matisse.