Although in some ways the last third of the 19th century was dominated by the new Impressionist style of painting, in reality there were several pioneering strands of modern art, each with its own particular focus. They included: Impressionism (accuracy in capturing effects of sunlight); Realism(content/theme); Academic Art (classical-style true-life pictures); Romanticism(mood); Symbolism (enigmatic iconography); lithographic poster art (bold motifs and colours). The final decade saw a number of revolts against the Academies and their ‘Salons’, in the form of the Secession movement, while the late-1890s witnessed the decline of “nature-based art”, like Impressionism, which would soon lead to a rise in more serious “message-based” art.
Impressionism (1870s, 1880s)
Impressionism focused on the almost impossible task of capturing fleeting moments of light and colour. Introduced non-naturalist colour schemes, and loose – often highly textured – brushwork. Close-up many Impressionist paintings were unrecognizable. Highly unpopular with the general public and the arts authorities, although highly rated by other modern artists, dealers and collectors.