Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Cézanne, Renoir, Degas, Sisley, Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt. Though they were often ridiculed or ignored by their contemporaries, today astonishing sums are paid for the works of these artists, whose paintings are celebrated for their ability to capture the moment, not only in the fleeting lights of a landscape but in scenes of daily life. Their dazzling pictures are familiarbut how well does the world know the Impressionists as people? The Private Lives of the Impressionists tells their story. It is the first book to offer an intimate and lively biography of the world's most popular group of artists. In a vivid and moving narrative, biographer Sue Roe shows the Impressionists in the studios of Paris, rural lanes of Montmartre and rowdy riverside bars as Paris underwent Baron Haussmann's spectacular transformation. For more than twenty years they lived and worked together as a group, struggling to rebuild their lives after the Franco-Prussian War and supporting one another through shocked public reactions to unfamiliar canvases depicting laundresses, dancers, spring blossoms and boating scenes. This intimate, colorful, superbly researched account takes us into their homes and studios, and describes their unconventional, volatile and precarious lives, as well as the stories behind the paintings.
A Charming Overview of the Impressionists
By David B Richman - January 7, 2007
One common lack in the multitude of books on the French Impressionist painters is that most books concentrate on the individual artists, or at least on one artist at a time, and do little to connect the artists in the context of their private lives. A few concentrate on correspondence between artists, but don't draw it all together. There have been some notable exceptions (such as Rewald's almost encyclopedic "The History of Impressionism"), but I think that for a relatively short intimate and interconnected history of the Impressionists Sue Roe's "The Private lives of the Impressionists" stands out. I was literally caught up in the story from the start (even though I have read several other versions) and learned a great deal about who knew who when and how various painters influenced others in the movement. Here Manet grumbles about his confusion with a new painter- Monet. Cezanne wonders in an out of the group, always apparently angry and paranoid. Monet is chased by creditors... read more
How one of the great movements of Art History came into being
By Shalom Freedman "Shalom Freedman" - October 31, 2006
This is the story of one of the great movements in Art History, French Impressionism. It does not however focus on the Art itself, but rather on the lives of the artists, on their relations to each other, on the story of the time and world in which they lived. It tells a story of a great deal of rejection at home where the Impressionists work was frequently jeered, and concludes with the tale of the immense success the great agent and promoter Rurand- Duel had in New York in his exhibition of 1880 a success which truly put the Impressionists on the road to success. In the twenty odd years from 1860 roughly to 1880 in which Manet, Pisarro, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Bazille, Cezanne, Degas, Morisot, Cassatt, truly create Impressionism most of this group could not make a living from their painting.
One of the most surprising and moving features of this story is how these painters tried to help each other, were very often true friends to one another. Here the model and example... read more
These Guys Could Paint
By Uitlander - December 15, 2006
I read this book because I have recently been viewing alot of Impressionistic art and I thought I needed some stories about the artists to make their work more memorable. The title made me think I was going to read alot of gossip and scandal, but after 100 years their tales hardly seem that flagrant. The major themes of their private lives seems to have been hard work, disappointment and penury. (Caillebotte and Cassett were the exceptions, as they were from wealthy families.) The author's style most resembles a professional biographer- not a gossip columnist. However, I did get a feeling for the personalities of some of the major Impressionists. Their relationships with each other are especially well recorded because they all knew one another and sometimes worked together.
If you are unfamiliar with this art, I would not recommend the book. The reproductions are small and few. And, there is no prose capable of capturing the beauty of Impressionism. However, Roe's... read more