The Rise of Impressionism – The Story of Paul Durand-Ruel

An Exhibition at the British National Gallery about the history of the famous art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel's life and work as he brought the Impressionists to the forefront of the art world.

Written by on April 21, 2015

Way back in the 1870s a group of young artists were breaking from the traditional realist style and snubbing the academy (literally). Now-famous painters such as Monet, Renoir, Sisley and Pissarro were on the cusp of creating something monumental that would eventually change the landscape of the art world. While contemporary critics and art lovers alike are well-versed in all that is the Impressionists, their style and the artists who created the light-drenched paintings, the same can’t be said of their the 19th century counterparts. Harkening back to a time when the world was first discovering the Impressionists, the British National Gallery’s “Inventing Impressionism” is a show that takes the viewer to the 1800s and rise of a new style.

INVENTING IMPRESSIONISMPaul Durand-Ruel’s name may not be as well-known as Monet’s or Renoir’s. That said, in the art world this entrepreneur is a pivotal figure. “Inventing Impressionism” features 85 works that (except for one piece) have at one point or another been connected to the art dealer. The exhibit itself follows the beginning and rise of the Impressionist movement, tracing Durand-Ruel’s role in the eventual fame that the style achieved. Key points in the art dealer’s life and career are shown through the exhibition that is devoted to his own masterpieces – the Impressionist painters. Durand-Ruel was more than a businessman who dealt in art. He was a visionary who saw the intrinsic value of this new style, and worked tirelessly to bring it to the rest of the world.


Without wavering, Durand-Ruel prompted, promoted and encouraged the budding Impressionist painters. He’s credited with ‘discovering’ the group of young artists, but in reality he took what was already a ground-breaking movement and made it very public. For decades the art dealer brought the works of Monet and his colleagues to the world through exhibitions and contact with some of the most influential collectors of the time.

Monet - Artist's Garden at Giverny

During his lifetime, Durand-Ruel purchased more than 1,000 Monet’s and 1,500 Renoir’s along with 400 Cassatt’s and 800 Pissarro’s. “Inventing Impressionism” includes several portraits of Durand-Ruel himself with his family, as painted by Renoir.

While it was the artist themselves who in truth ‘created’ Impressionism, it was Durand-Ruel who was one of the first people in the art world to see the potential that the movement had. The current exhibition also features five of Monet’s ‘Poplars’ series and the of Renoir’s ‘Dancers’. It is currently on display at the National Gallery through May 31, 2015.

New Book Manet Paints Monet Shines a Light on the Early Impressionists

A new inspiring art book about the tale of two prominent artists, Manet and Monet, as they spend one glorious summer together, told by art historian Willibald Sauerlander.

Written by on April 17, 2015

Travel back in time to the summer of 1874, as art history is made in Willibald Sauerlander’s Manet Paints Monet: A Summer in Argenteuil. Sauerlander’s narrative details the growing friendship of the two famed Impressionist painters along with the transcendence of a new style.

Manet Paints MonetSauerlander himself ‘paints a picture’ of the two artists, their summer together and how they influenced the art world through their masterful works. Edouard Manet and Claude Monet spent the summer of 1874 roaming through Argenteuil together, building a friendship on the banks (and waters) of the Seine River. While, to the modern day art enthusiast, Impressionism seems like a staple in the art world, in the late 1800’s this was not the case. Monet and Manet were independent thinkers who were, in the summer of 1874, in the midst of creating a new style that was decidedly different from the more traditional artists of the Academie Des Beaux-Arts.

Rejecting established styles, Monet sought to depict modern life in pure colors, with loose brushwork and a focus on the natural environment. Manet Paints Monet features the story of two artists, two friends and two visionaries working together.

Choosing a boat as the backdrop to the portrait, Manet was able to capture the natural setting and light-play on the water while painting his contemporary and friend. The floating studio that Monet used to create his art was an ideal environment for the inquisitive Manet, who eagerly paints his friend in the style of the subject himself. Although his entre into the art world came as a realist painter, Manet’s transition into a looser (eventually impressionistic) style truly took root during this time period. Not only was he painting his friend, but he was also moving from his more typical urban focus to a nature-oriented one. While he never fully transitioned into the scenic outdoor style that Monet painted in, Manet did take what he learned from painting his friend back to the city (and the studio) with him.

Edouard Manet - Olympia

Sauerlander details the ways in which Monet influences Manet, with the elder artist painting light-drenched landscapes prior to capturing leisurely vacationers and eventually the floating rowboat portrait. Focusing on this moment in time, the art historian offers a detailed look at the emergence of an artistic style through the lens of two friends who were much more than mere colleagues.

Roman Fedosenko Named’s April Artist of the Month

With an Impressionist style, Roman Fedosenko brings color and light to the canvas. Working to display the beauty of the world in his art, Fedosenko’s collection ranges from scenic landscapes to delicately vibrant portraits. It is with great honor that recognizes Roman Fedosenko as April’s artist of the month.

Written by on April 14, 2015

Hailing from Minsk, Belarus, Roman Fedosenko is an international artist who paints in both Impressionist and Realist styles. Starting his career in design, Fedosenko has also worked in castings and ceramics. He went on to work in different styles, exploring multiple genres of painting.

CATCHING THE SUNSET by Roman Fedosenko

The artist’s light-drenched works are bright, bold and often action-oriented. Fedosenko currently works in oils on canvas. Featured subjects include motorcycles, portraits, land and sea- scapes. The artist also captures the Impressionist style within a traditional-seeming subject matter, featuring flowing ballerinas moving on the stage. He mixes a realist edge with the texture-filled brushstrokes of the great Impressionist painters. Fedosenko’s works capture both an old-world and modern day feel together, while bringing warmth to the canvas through the subtle play of light and shadows.

ARABESK by Roman Fedosenko

Working directly with clients and exhibiting in galleries has inspired Fedosenko’s art to grow and evolve. He chose to join the online artists’ community of in order to help the public learn about his work. While his work may resemble the Impressionist style of master painters, Fedosenko did not study his craft at art school. He is self-taught when it comes to painting, studying by himself.

Fedosenko’s paintings don’t follow a singular theme, but do present a certain fluidity of artistic style. Whether it’s a motorcycle rushing down the highway at sunset or a woman casually reading a book on a sun-soaked windowsill, the artist’s works showcase his use of eye-catching colors. The stunning portrayal of the subject matter through the use of movement and environmental setting brings Fedosenko’s art to life. You can feel the motorcycles rushing down a light-lined city street, imagine the feel of the warm sun on the shoulders of a young woman walking through a garden and almost hear the sound of the music accompanying the artist’s ballerinas as they go en pointe in “Arabesk.”

INTERESTING BOOK by Roman Fedosenko

We are excited to have Roman Fedosenko, and his Impressionist (yet Realist) works, as part of the community. To see his thrill-seeking motorcycle riders, ballerinas and seaside scenes, check out his collection on Roman Fedosenko’s gallery.

Choose Wall Paint Colors Based on Fine Art

Let fine art paintings inspire the best wall colors for redecoration

Written by on May 21, 2013

Redecorating a home can be challenging and picking out a new color scheme may seem like the most daunting part of the process. Reds, blues and greens are all viable options, but which shade? What about the trim? Then begins the frenzy of online searches, torn out pages from magazines, and stealthily analyzing the homes of friends and family for inspiration.

After the headache of choosing colors and painting the walls, another challenge arises: What to decorate the walls with? Let’s start with that question. Choose a work of art to inspire your color scheme and forget the online searches for “wall colors ideas.” When you go to peruse the paint chips in the home depot store, you will be prepared. Here are three examples from the reproduction art galleries of Overstock Art to inspire you as you choose home wall colors. Click on the hyperlink art titles to have the ability to zoom on each painting as if it were inches from your eye.

  • Klimt’s The Kiss

Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss (1907-08) is an iconic painting of two lovers sharing a romantic kiss among a bed of flowers. Which colors appear the most vibrant to you? Where is your eye immediately drawn toward? Now, imagine if you chose the same color to paint the walls with. Perhaps it is the brightest yellow that you are drawn toward. If you painted the walls with this color, the painting and the wall color would appear to vibrate as if you were staring at the sun. It would be advisable to select a color a shade slightly different than the most vibrant color. The most vibrant color or colors could be chosen as an accent for the trim, if selecting a slightly varied shade. A red pulled from the painting could be a possible choice as it is less used in the composition but would make the painting also stand out.

  • Renoir’s Near the Lake

Renoir-Near-the-LakePiere-Auguste Renoir’s Near the Lake (1880) marks transition from the artist’s painting in the style of Impressionism and a return to Classicism. The color palette here is warm. Soft country yellows or sage greens can be pulled. Choose colors that remind you of a sunset. Perhaps the room you are painting receives light from a beautiful sunset. If you prefer a less warm palette but still love this painting, take inspiration from the sea and the mountains in the distance, the clothing the young woman is wearing, and choose a blue-grey.

  • Sisley’s The Church at Moret in Morning Sun

Alfred Sisley The Church at Moret in Morning (1893) painted fourteen variations of  Eglise Notre-Dame at Moret from a southwest direction. In his time, the artist became acquainted with Monet and Renoir. Here the color palette is cool. A rustic yellow ochre can be chosen and the blue color has associations soothing and relaxation as the vibrant painting, while the yellow ochre would have an inviting warmth. Choosing a blue from this painting is also a viable choice; notice an almost indigo color that can be used as a possible trim or accent.

Keep in mind a few tips. Remember to not match a warm and cool color together as predominant colors. Choose one color as your predominant color, and then use other colors as accents. Bright, vibrant colors add visual weight, such as a vibrant yellow which can mimic the effect of staring at the sun; this effect of visual weight can also appear to retract a room or make the room seem to expand. Sometimes a nice, deep red in a small room can make it seem lively and intimate, depending upon your taste. Warm and cool colors can even affect our perception of the temperature in a room.

These paintings by Klimt, Renoir and Sisley are only suggestions to get you started on choosing the best wall colors. Perhaps consider color schemes throughout your home from art styles, such as Impressionism or Traditional. The possibilities are limitless. Your friends and family are sure to envy your inspired idea for home wall colors based on fine art.

Did Impressionism Rip Off Macchiaoli?

Strangely similar, Italy's Macchiaoli predates France's Impressionism

Written by on April 18, 2013

"Hay Stacks" by Giovanni FattoriDid you know there was an Italian Proto-Impressionism? The Macchiaoli movement was active in Florence during the mid-nineteenth century. A few disenchanted, youthful men were fed up with the “Neoclassical” movement and met at Caffe Michelangiolo with other creatives to discuss politics and the rebirth of a type of art to encompass the chiaroscuro of Caravaggio and the whimsical realism of Rembrandt. Macchia translates to “stain,” inspiring the name for the Macchiaoli art movement.

Macchiaoli (1855-1862) preceded Impressionism by a difference of about ten years, and the movements have quite a few things in common historically. When paired side by side the similarities are significant enough for any art enthusiast to raise a questioning eyebrow. A few of these strange similarities include:

  1. The formation of each movement was in opposition to a “Neoclassical” and and politically-correct school with a very strict definition of art. The Impressionists made their own outdoor gallery to show their works in the early 1870′s by the  Académie des Beaux-Arts. The Macchiaoli painters were noted to be very anti-academy.
  2. The name of each movement was coined by a critic in a review with similar meanings and intended disdain. For Impressionism: The paintings were incomplete child’s play, and the name of the movement was taken from Monet’s “Impression, Sunrise” painted in 1872. For Macchiaoli: The paintings were made up of “stains” and were no more than sketches in a harsh review published on November 3, 1862 in the journal Gazzetta del Popolo, first mentioning “macchia“.
  3. Haystacks. (This one is a stretch.) Giovanni Fattori today is recognized as a prominent Macchiaoli artist. For a time he focused on haystacks as a subject matter, much like Monet’s prominent Haystacks series. Many Macchiaoli artists relied on plein-air sketches, but many Impressionists skipped the studies and rendered the light immediately on canvas as a painting. Irregardless, both movements shared a tendency and insistence on a plein-air element.
  4. Each movement surrounded civil war and unrest. Macchiaoli: The second Italian Independence war in the late 1850′s.Impressionism: The Franco-Prussian War in the early 1870′s.

Monet - Wheat, Snow, Morning HaystacksInterestingly, Macchiaoli had an influence through Italian landscape painter Giovanni Costa who was associated with the French painter Corot. “The typical Macchiaolo elongated format, however, owes more to Corot {curiously overlooked}….Giovanni Costa who knew the Frenchman’s work had already adopted this format in the early 1850s,” relays art reviewer Sandra Beresford (255.) Costa has no mention as actively a part of the Macchiaoli movement by scholars or critics, but his work and those he was influenced by had its impact on the movement.  Beresford also mentions that Costa wrote to the art critic Diego Martilli at times.

Macchiaoli and Impressionism did have an art critic and enthusiast in common, one Diego Martilli. Art historian Norma F. Broude describes: “During the artist revolution which had taken place in Florence during the 1850′s, Martilli, an early supporter of the Macchiaoli, told his audience “ . . . the macchia was found in opposition to form . . . it is said that form did not exist and since, in light, everything appears as a result of colors and chiaroscuro, the effects of nature should therefore be obtained soley by means of patches [macchie] , either of the color or of the tone.” Like the conservative critics who had first attacked the Macchiaoli some fifteen years earlier, Martelli sees the macchia in opposition to “form”, but the meaning which he attaches to these terms are new” (406). Broude relays that in the 1860′s and early seventies, Martelli’s writings reflect the concept of the contemporary French art which was “then current among the Italians” (407). Broude reveals that Martilli “in Paris for the first time in 1863 he waxed enthusiastic over the paintings of Corot, Millet, and Courbet, while the work of Manet, which he saw for the first time at Salon des Refuses of that year, struck him…” (406-407). Scholars of Manet will recognize his later work as a precursor to the Impressionist movement.

Martilli became one of the first critics to support French Impressionism. Was Diego Martilli a spy for the French, who had a secret time-traveling device able to to fling him back and forth between decades?  Not likely. Scholars, such as Broude, indicate that 1863, Paris was Martilli’s first exposure to Impressionism as we know it today and that Impressionism, as he witnessed it, was hardly inspired indirectly by him, though the connection is valid to the suggested element of influence.

Edgar Degas did paint Martilli in 1879. The painting now hangs in the National Galleries of Scotland. Common sense would have us suppose that Martilli shared some aspects of his knowledge of Macchiaoli technique. Martilli was also friends with Macchiaoli painter Giovanni Boldini, who “learned enduring lessons from the Macchiaioli, reinforced by his exposure to Manet, Degas and others in French Impressionist circles,” according to writer Roderick Morris in this New York Times article. With the Macchiaoli and Impressionist movements being merely a decade apart, artists from these movements would have inspired and grown from exposure to one another’s work. It’s not that Impressionism “ripped off” the Macchiaoli movement but shows evidence of cross-pollination in art rendering. Perhaps here we witness how the growth of art naturally progresses, just as various cultures across the world share very similar myths and traditions.

The Musée d’Orsay will host a show revealing several Macchiaoli paintings to the French public from Apr 9, 2013 – Jul 22, 2013.


Beresford, Sandra. “The Art of the Macchia and the Risorgimento. Representing Culture and Nationalism in Nineteenth Century Italy (by Albert Boime).”Burlington Magazine. Apr 1995: 255. Print.

Broude, Norma F. “The Macchiaioli as “Proto-Impressionists”: Realism, Popular Science and the Re-shaping of Macchia Romanticism, 1862-1886.”Art Bulletin. 52.4 (1970): 404-414. Print.

Morris, Roderick Conway. “In Impressionist Paris, the Face of the Belle Époque.” New York Times. 13 Nov 2009: 1-2. Web. 18 Apr. 2013.


All artists derive their inspiration from somewhere, something or someone, whether conscious or unconscious. For Kinkade, he consciously mined his inspiration from his faith, from nature, from the world around him. However, there are striking similarities between Kinkade and the great Impressionist master Claude Monet.

Written by on April 23, 2012

From landscapes to lighthouses, from cottages to cabins, from mountains to Main Street, Thomas Kinkade captured the essence of nature and glimpses of Americana.

THOMAS KINKADE AND CLAUDE MONET: IMPRESSIONS IN THE LIGHTHowever, Kinkade is best known for his ethereal works of lush landscapes and colorful cottages with a fairytale feeling. His stone cottages nestled within a forest surrounded by secret gardens and sparkling streams invite the viewer in.

His paintings vibrate with a stillness and quiet magic, providing a respite, a place to hide away from world weariness and worries of everyday life. Delicate and dreamy, Kinkade’s works are eye candy for the spirit, with a lightness that lifts the spirit.

All artists derive their inspiration from somewhere, something or someone, whether conscious or unconscious. For Kinkade, he consciously mined his inspiration from his faith, from nature, from the world around him.

Monet - Water Lilies (pink)There are striking similarities between Thomas Kinkade and the great Impressionist master Claude Monet.  Perhaps unconsciously Kinkade’s greatest stylistic influence was distilled from Monet’s masterpieces.  Both painters provide a paradise, a peaceful retreat for the observer, and a serene majesty that soothes any irritation.

With gardens bursting in colorful blooms, to the shimmering ripple of reflection on the water’s surface, how could one not draw the conclusion that Kinkade was influenced by Monet? Some might think it heresy to invoke the two names together, but like it or not, Kinkade’s modern works are an expression of Monet’s lightness.

Rather than anesthetizing the senses, the saturated pastels, multi-colored hues and an evanescence to both Monet’s and Kinkade’s works provide a soft glow of soul.

Parallels between Monet’s Artist Garden at Giverny and Kinkade’s many garden paintings such as Garden of Grace, while not exact, can be drawn. Both display purple and pink hues bathed in soft light.

Other examples of similarities?
Monet’s Japanese Bridge and Kinkade’s bucolic Blossom Bridge. While the latter does not have the fine composition of Monet, both exude warmth, of immersing oneself in the waters under the bridge.

Monet’s Garden Path at Giverny and Kinkade’s Savannah Romance both take the viewer by the hand to lead them down a pathway, through nature, towards a final focal point with a sense of direction, but completely unhurried.

There are other examples exhibited if one opens up the mind and lets down any sort of inherent prejudice against Kinkade as kitsch. Instead, if one views Kinkade as paying homage to Monet the master, a tiny crack in the psyche widens to allow the possibility of a kinship in light

Going Mad for Paul Cezanne

Did madness and depression make Paul Cezanne stand out?

Written by on October 3, 2011

Paul Cezanne - Card Players with PipesHow is it that some people have their own world as if that world is the true reality? Is a world of an artist a reality in-itself and normal people simply cannot understand it? We like to call it madness. Is it possible that without a little madness, a painter cannot become a great artist?

Some painters took drastic measures in times of weakness, such as Vincent Van Gogh cutting his ear off. Others kept a hidden life by staying out of the light of society. Only close people knew about Paul Cezanne’s weakness, his depression and his lack of reality. It is said that he was a difficult person to be around with.

Paul Cezanne was, for the most part, a loner and did not let many people around him. Even so, is it possible that a mad man can realize his lack of reality? Cezanne himself wondered if he was insane: “Tell me, do you think I’m going mad? I sometimes wonder, you know.” The problems began with the onset of diabetes in 1890, destabilizing his personality to the point where relationships with others were strained.

However, his ability to paint hasn’t been affected. Although he had admired in his lifetime, Cezanne rarely liked his paintings and often, despite the long time spent making them, destroyed them. It is said that the artist once put someone to sit for him in order to make a portrait for three months and then destroyed the painting. For some, the endless sittings were often tortures. The artist demanded that his models remain absolutely motionless. However, he wasn’t interested in the facial mimicry or emotions, but in the composition of the moment. For this reason, he painted people he could afford to pay, such as farmers and day laborers.

It was people like “The Card Players” that Cezanne used as models to paint. The painting can now be admired at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Nevertheless, Cezanne was so dissatisfied with the results of his works, and even showed sympathy with the Salons that turned down his paintings for shows.

Although towards the end of his life collectors became increasingly interested in Cezanne’s works and his paintings began to reach significant prices, the artist retreated more and more from the world. “The world doesn’t understand me, and I don’t understand the world, that’s why I’ve withdrawn from it.”

Cezanne’s health weakened him as he grew older. Apart from his diabetes, his depression worsened, and was mainly manifested in a growing distrust of his fellow human beings and eventually in paranoia. His mood swayed between euphoria and despair. However, he was delighted at the increasingly frequent visits from friends and admirers.

Despite him wanting to be alone, he also appreciated the importance the admirers gave his work. He felt that at last he was being taken seriously. In January 1905 he wrote to Roger Marx, the editor of the Gazzette des Beaux-Arts:
“My age and my health will never allow me to realize the dream of art that I have been pursuing all my life. But I shall always be grateful to the intelligent amateurs who had – despite my own hesitations – the intuition of what I wanted to attempt for the renewal of my art.”

So what made Cezanne stand out from the artist’s crowd? Was depression, madness or paranoia that made him paint in such a unique manner? or none of these, but only his talent? I guess that only Cezanne can answer that question:

To my mind, one does not substitute oneself for the past; one merely adds a new link to its chain. With the temperament of a painter and an ideal of art – that is to say, a conception of nature – sufficient means of expression would have been necessary to be intelligible to the general public and to occupy a decent place in the history of art.” – Paul Cezanne

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