Postimpressionism. It is a term that encompasses the different pictorial styles that succeeded Impressionism in France between approximately 1880 and 1905 . It was coined by British critic Roger Fry in 1910 , on the occasion of the London exhibition of paintings by Paul Cézanne , Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh . In addition to these three artists, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Georges Seurat are also included in this current.


[ hide ]

  • 1 Background
  • 2 Postimpressionism
  • 3 Features
    • 1 Main features
  • 4 Related artists
    • 1 Individualities
      • 1.1 Paul Cézanne
      • 1.2 Paul Gauguin
      • 1.3 Vincent van Gogh
      • 1.4 Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
      • 1.5 Isidro Nonell
      • 1.6 Others
    • 5 Some pictorial works of Postmodernism
    • 6 Sources


Impressionism was a pictorial movement that developed strongly in the second half of the 19th century and that broke the current academic, social and economic assumptions in art. At the time, it was a revolution and his works received strong criticism. Being rejected on official circuits, the group of Impressionist painters organized their own exhibitions and maintained a cohesion that lasted until, decades later, some of them achieved some recognition. From the disintegration of this movement Post-Impressionism was born partly as evolution and partly as rupture.
Impressionism was a rupture of the dominant concepts in painting and sculpture. If until then the rational study of the work, the composition over previous drawings and the clarity of the lines prevailed, the Impressionists left that ground to try to capture in their works the spontaneous impression, as it came to their senses. They did not care so much about the object they wanted to paint as the sensation received. The fleeting, ephemeral sensation, hardly noticeable and reproducible. Impressionist painters left the workshops and went outside. His models were the street, the building, the landscape, the person, the fact, but not in its static and permanent conception, but perceived in that almost unique moment.
The impressionist painter painted on site and finished the work quickly. He used loose, short and vigorous strokes. The objects and the space itself were not delimited with lines following the Renaissance canons but were formed on the retina of the observer from those imprecise lines. Impressionist painting discovered the changing value of light and its movement, using a rich color palette from which they excluded black because black, as they said, did not exist in nature.


It is said that Postimpressionism is not properly an artistic style with more or less defined and easily identifiable technical features. Rather, it is a somewhat imprecise term that serves to designate a group of artists who all they share is a somewhat ambiguous relationship with Impressionism. An ambiguous relationship because:

  • On the one hand, its technical resources are frequently inherited directly from Impressionism: loose brushstrokes, optical blending, complementary contrast, etc. Post-Impressionist themes were also similar to those characteristic of Impressionism.
  • On the other hand, the relationship of Postimpressionism with respect to reality is different from that of Impressionism, although sometimes they paint the same motifs. Post-Impressionists sought to broaden the expressive horizons of painting, without resigning themselves to passively capturing what was observed in reality (in contrast to the Impressionists, who were interested in capturing fleeting effects by reflecting them on the canvas as they were observed in Nature).

This term actually encompasses various personal styles, presenting them as an extension of Impressionism and at the same time as a rejection of the limitations of Impressionism. Post-Impressionists continued to use vivid colors, a compact application of paint, distinguishable brush strokes, and real-life themes, but they attempted to bring more emotion and expression to their painting. Although the post-impressionists based their work on the use of color experienced by the impressionists, they reacted against the desire to faithfully reflect nature and presented a more subjective view of the world. Georges Seurat, called neo-impressionist for his criteria closest to impressionism, invented a technique called pointillism , whose most prominent example is the paintingA summer Sunday at the Grande Jatte . Cézanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh’s work was characterized by an expressive use of color and greater formal freedom. Cézanne was interested in highlighting the material qualities of the painting, representing living beings and landscapes, volumes and relationships between surfaces, as in Pines and Rocks ( 1895 – 1898 , MOMA, New York ). His interest in geometric shapes and the prismatic light inherent in the perception of nature anticipated Cubism’s experiments. Gauguin, in an attempt to achieve the communicative capacity of popular art, focused on representation based on flat and decorative surfaces, as seen in the work Calvary Breton (1889 , Palace of Fine Arts, Brussels ). Van Gogh, for his part, approached nature with vigorous colorful brushstrokes, evocative of the artist’s internal emotions. His subjective experimentation, exemplified in Starry Night ( 1889 , New York MOMA)), preluded expressionism. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was strongly influenced by the linear compositions of Japanese engravings, and his work was characterized by intense contour engravings and flat colors. Other later artistic movements, such as cubism, expressionism, fauvism, surrealism, and futurism, presented some of the characteristics of impressionist painting: the expressive freedom of the artist and the emphasis on the abstract concept of art.


With post-impressionism, a new type of artist was created, the individual genius who lives on his art, the creative personality who shapes his psychology in the painting, thanks to his singular line, personal color, and the recovery of forms and structures. , but with a new reading. Color becomes representative and subjective, not objective. The color with which the soul of things is seen is represented. Reality is interpreted according to the personal vision of the creative genius. Painters flee Paris seeking the primitivism of artAlthough this city is still the center of world art. These new impressionists have a particular vision of their painting, which distances them from classical impressionism. Post-impressionism was both an extension of impressionism and a rejection of its limitations. Post-Impressionists continued to use vivid colors, a compact application of paint, distinguishable brush strokes, and real-life themes, but they attempted to bring more emotion and expression to their painting. Although they often exhibited together, it was not a cohesive movement. They work in distant geographical areas, van Gogh in Arles, Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence.

Main features

  • Interest in drawing and expressiveness of objects and human figures.
  • Reconciliation between volumetric effect and purely aesthetic taste.
  • Conception of the painting based on strictly geometric bodies.
  • Use of contrasting colors. Pure colors with great emotional charge.

Related artists

All the artists grouped under the term post-impressionism knew and practiced impressionist postulates at some point.

  • Henri Matisse
  • Joan Miro
  • Odilon redon
  • Paul Cézanne
  • Paul Gauguin
  • Pierre Bonnard
  • Vincent van Gogh


Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne ( 1839 – 1906 ) is one of the most prominent post-impressionist artists. He had an impressionist stage, but the most decisive part of his work is done at this stage. In his works he is concerned with the construction, the structure and the intellectual framework that he transmits, which leads him to be a precursor of the geometric forms of cubism and abstraction. To define his figures, he uses pure forms: the cone, the cylinder, the spheres, etc., but traced without a compass or ruler. The card players, great bathers, The Boy in the Red Vest, The Mountain of Santa Victoria, Still Life with Peaches, Bathers, are some of his works.

Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin ( 1848 – 1906 ) is another of the great post-impressionist painters. Rediscover geometry and flat colors. His paintings have a very strong decorative sense. Fed up with Paris and the western civilization that imposes a certain vision of art, he moved to live first in Pont-Aven and then in Tahiti, in search of the lost paradise and the purity of the art of primitive cultures. For him, art is abstract by definition, so he uses unreal colors and lights. Among his works are: The beautiful Angele, The breasts of the red flowers, The yellow Christ, Vision after the sermon, And the gold of their bodies, Self-portrait with a palette, Food.

Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh ( 1853 – 1890 ) is probably the most individualistic genius of all post-impressionist painters. His vital drama is reflected in his paintings very vividly. His works are characterized by the chromatic explosion, the sensual outline of the thick and long brushstrokes, and the very bright, but also very dark colors. It has a long series of self-portraits and another of sunflowers.


  • Self portrait
  • Glass with sunflowers
  • Harvest of La Crau
  • Boats on the beach
  • Postman Joseph Roulin
  • Potato eaters
  • Vicent’s chair
  • The sunflowers.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec ( 1864 – 1901 ) is the pictorial chronicler of the society of his time, Bohemia and the underworld. The only post-impressionist who does not leave Paris . He is a great cartoonist who shapes what is specifically visible, reality, with the help of four strokes. He has many commissions for posters for shows and uses the poster as a mode of artistic expression, which brings him closer to modernism. Its arabesques and spot colors are characteristic.


  • Bathroom
  • Jane Abril with gloves
  • The hall of the street of the mills
  • Dance in the Red Mill
  • Van Gogh portrait
  • The dance dwells
  • Oscar Wildeportrait

Isidro Nonell

( 1873 – 1911 ) is a Spanish painter who does not have the height of greats, but does have a strong personality. Use a firm line and a non-naturalistic color. Gypsy fan, Bust of a woman, Woman with a shawl.


Post-impressionist artists Harry Lachman , Henri Rousseau and Georges Seurat were also considered .

Some pictorial works of Postmodernism

  • Vision after the sermon, Paul Gaugin, 1888 .
  • Card Players, Paul Cézanne, 1890 .
  • Venice, from the fully impressionistic Claude Monet , 1908 .
  • Road in Auvers after the rain, Vincent van Gogh, 1890 .
  • At the Moulin Rouge, Tolouse-Lautrec, 1892 – 1895 .
  • A summer Sunday by Georges Seurat


Leave a Comment