Did Van Gogh Or Monet Start The Impressionist Movement? 

When many think about the Impressionist movement, the names Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh come to mind. But many are surprised to learn that Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh are not even in the same art movement.

Claude Monet is credited for starting the Impressionist art movement, while Vincent Van Gogh is considered part of the Post-Impressionism movement. Even though they both lived simultaneously, they were not considered part of the same art movement.

Claude Monet Started The Impressionist Movement

Claude Monet (1840-1926)

Claude Monet was an Impressionist painter. He started the Impressionism movement along with Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, and others. The group began in 1874 when the artists called themselves the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, and Printmakers.

This group of artists organized an exhibition in Paris; the Impressionism movement started at this exhibition. This random group of artists was unified by their independence from what was then the official annual Salon show.

In the Salon show, a jury of artists from the Academie des Beaux-Arts would select the works of art that could be shown at the show and then award the medals. This Impressionism independent group of artists despised this approach to art and felt it was being led by conservation art critics and not any progressive artists.

Impression Sunrise, 1872 Painting By Claude Monet

These progressive artists set up art shows to show their works of art. In the 1874 show, Claude Monet had a painting called Impressionism, Sunrise; the art critic accused it of being more of a sketch and not a finished painting. But it was from this Claude Monet painting of Impressionism. Sunrise, the name of Impressionism, came about.

The impressionist movement artists emphasized the use of light and adopted broken brush strokes that barely conveyed any forms. The Impressionists also used unblended colors, and their artwork had a sense of spontaneity.

The work of the Impressionism artists started to become widely accepted and eventually was also accepted as part of the prestigious Salon shows.

Vincent Van Gogh Is A Post Impressionist

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

Vincent Van Gogh is considered to be a Post Impressionism artist. Post-Impressionism was considered a creative shift from Impressionism art; Post-impressionism broke with the innovative style of Impressionism art.

It was in 1911 that art critics started to use the phrase ”post-impressionistic” to illustrate the work of several artists that did not follow the strict impressionism movement.

Post-Impressionism became the link between Impressionism artwork and modern art. Van Gogh is considered one of the most influential artists that influenced many other art movements, such as the Expressionism art movement in Modern art.

Unlike the Impressionists, who used short brush strokes, Van Gogh was known to use long vertical brush strokes. Van Gogh was not an Impressionist, as his art and style were a noticeable break from the Impressionists.

The Starry Night Painting, an 1889 Painting By Vincent van Gogh

The Post-Impressionism movement is an art movement that does not follow any specific method or style. When you look at Van Gogh’s artistic style, you can see that his art has its unique style.

Impressionists such as Claude Monet many times used soft colors in his Impressionism artwork. Still, Vincent Van Gogh many times did quite the opposite as he would make the painting more vibrant, colorful, and intense than the actual object he was painting.

Claude Monet Was Known As An Impressionist Painter

During his lifetime Claude Monet was known as an Impressionist painter. In many of his letters to his brother, Vincent Van Gogh referred to Monet as an Impressionist painter.

Vincent Van Gogh, in writing to his brother Theo wrote this about the Impressionists and Claude Monet:

Ah, to paint figures like Claude Monet paints landscapes. That’s what remains to be done despite everything, and before, of necessary, one sees only Monet among the Impressionists.”

Vincent Van Gogh To His Brother Theo Van Gogh – 3 May 1889

We can see from this quote that Van Gogh admired the Impressionist painters, particularly Claude Monet; he referred to Claude Monet as one of the key Impressionists. But at the same time, he did not refer to himself as an Impressionist.

Van Gogh understood that he was not in the impressionism movement but that his art was trying to build upon the art style the Impressionists had started.

In April 1890, Theo put some of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings in an exhibition. In writing to his brother about the results of the show, he wrote this to Vincent Van Gogh:

“Your paintings at the exhibition are very successful. The other day Duez stopped me in the street and said, give my compliments to your brother and tell him that his paintings are quite remarkable. Monet said that your paintings were the best in the exhibition. Many other artists have spoken to me about them.”

Theo Van Gogh To Vincent Van Gogh – 23 April 1890

From this, we learn that Monet also admired Vincent Van Gogh’s artwork, but as the work differed from the impressionism movement, he did not refer to Vincent Van Gogh as an Impressionist artist.

Claude Monet was considered a key Impressionist artist. Vincent Van Gogh was never considered an Impressionism artist, but long after he died, his art movement was named part of the Post-Impressionism movement.

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Why Was Impressionism Art at First Rejected?

During the emergence of impressionism art, fine-art oil painting was an essential addition to the interior design of a home, especially for the affluent and the increasing arrival of the middle classes. For these art patrons, only some particular art styles were considered acceptable for them to use for the interior design of their home, and impressionism art did not fit into any of these culturally acceptable fine art categories. 

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading Why Was Impressionism Art at First Rejected?.

Why Is Van Gogh Considered Such A Great Artist?

Many things make Vincent Van Gogh unique and great as an artist. He had a great way to use color in his art, but more than that, he was an artist who set and paved the way for other artists. He changed art with his brushstroke technique, how he used color, and his design abilities. Van Gogh did all this as a self-taught artist.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading Why Is Van Gogh Considered Such A Great Artist?.

What Art Tools Did Vincent Van Gogh Use?

Vincent Van Gogh used most of the essential tools that artists of his day used, such as oil paints, turpentine, oil, canvas, brushes, palette knife, and easel. We learn from some of his letters how he used these art tools for his paintings. We also know from the letters how essential these art tools were to him.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading What Art Tools Did Vincent Van Gogh Use?.