Post-Impressionism is a predominantly French art movement that developed roughly between 1886 and 1905, from the last Impressionist exhibition to the birth of Fauvism. Post-Impressionism emerged as a reaction against Impressionists concern for the naturalistic depiction of light and color. Due to its broad emphasis on abstract qualities or symbolic content, Post-Impressionism encompasses a wide range of styles, including Paul Cézanne’s work, which is often categorized as Post-Impressionist.
Post-Impressionism is characterized by a few key features. First, it tends to reject the traditional division of labor between drawing and color. Instead, both functions are combined in the sketch, which is then developed into a more finished painting. This often results in highly abstracted forms. Second, Post-Impressionists are more interested in conveying emotion than in representing reality. As a result, their paintings often feature bold colors and stark contrasts. Finally, Post-Impressionists tend to emphasize the individual rather than the collective. Each artist develops his or her own unique style, which can be seen as a rejection of the traditional values of art.
Despite its name, Post-Impressionism was not a reaction against Impressionism per se. Rather, it was a response to the limitations of Impressionism, which many artists felt had reached its potential. In particular, Post-Impressionists were concerned with expanding the expressive potential of color and line. They sought to convey emotions more powerfully than Impressionism had done and to create more abstract forms.
The term “Post-Impressionism” was first used by art critic Roger Fry in a 1906 exhibition catalog; however, the style had been developed earlier by a number of artists. Paul Cézanne, for example, had been painting in a Post-Impressionist style since the early 1880s. Other important Post-Impressionists include Georges Seurat, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.