French Impressionist artists

A waterside landscape

Sisley, 'On the Shores of the Loing' © Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

The French Impressionists are some of the most admired artists of the modern age. Their works and those of their followers, the Post-Impressionists, have a vitality and freshness appealing to us even today.

Nineteenth-century Paris was regarded as the artistic centre of Europe. Unsatisfied with traditional academic training, the Impressionists set out to discover a new way of representing the world. They challenged accepted painting techniques, explored new subject matter, and exhibited their work independently of 'L' Academie des Beaux Arts'.

The Impressionists flooded their canvases with brightness, colour and texture. They developed a new approach to landscape painting by seeking to capture the atmosphere or 'sensation' of each view. They recorded their everyday surroundings: the cafés, theatres, cityscapes, leisure resorts and working people of Paris and its surroundings.

Ultimately, these revolutionary artists found success, supported by a growing circle of patrons and the dealer Paul Durand-Ruel. They revolutionised art in the later 19th century and laid the foundations for the Post-Impressionists and later abstract artists.