Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796–1875)

Corot was a leading member of the Barbizon school. Barbizon artists pioneered a new approach to landscape painting by working outdoors, directly from nature. Their methods were adopted by many Impressionist artists. Corot taught Berthe Morisot and was also closely linked to Boudin, Pissarro and Sisley. In his later years he was affectionately called ‘Père Corot’ (‘Father Corot’) by younger artists.

Eugène-Louis Boudin (1824–98)

Boudin was an important precursor of Impressionism. He was one of the first artists to embrace open-air painting. His direct approach to painting nature informed the work of several of the Impressionists including Monet, whom he encouraged to paint landscapes, en plein air. Although Boudin participated in the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874, he remained a naturalist painter. 

Gustave Caillebotte (1848–1894)

Caillebotte is best known for his depictions of Paris and its inhabitants during the 1870s and 1880s. He became closely involved with the Impressionists after meeting Degas, Monet and Renoir at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1874. He participated in five of the Impressionist exhibitions and acted as one of the chief supporters of the group. Caillebotte did not achieve the fame of his associates because most of his work remained within his family’s possession and was not widely seen until the second half of the twentieth century.  He is now recognised as an important modern artist with a distinct, realist style.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919)

Renoir was one of the leading members of the Impressionist group. He is best known for his scenes of fashionable Parisians at leisure. In the late 1860s he and Monet painted at La Grenouillère, the supposed “birthplace” of the Impressionism.  He contributed works to four of the Impressionist exhibitions.

Claude-Oscar Monet (1840–1926)

Monet was the key figure responsible for the development of Impressionism. The name of this style of art was derived from his work Impression, Sunrise (1873; Paris, Museum Marmottan). Monet was consistent in his determination to capture the ephemeral qualities of nature on canvas. In the 1890s he created his ‘series’ paintings; these involved painting a particular view at different times of the day and recording how its appearance changed under varying atmospheric conditions. Monet exhibited at five of the Impressionist exhibitions. Find out more about Monet's painting technique and the materials he used.

Eva Gonzalès (1849–1883)

Eva Gonzalès met Edouard Manet in 1869; she modelled for him and was his only formal pupil. Although associated with the Impressionists, Gonzalès preferred to exhibit at the Salon rather than at their independent exhibitions. She concentrated on portraits, still-lifes and scenes from contemporary life. As is demonstrated in this painting Gonzalès followed Manet’s technique of building up a picture from sketchy under-painting.

Edgar Germain Hilaire Degas (1834–1917)

Degas was a highly experimental artist, adept in multiple media and genres. Although he exhibited at the Impressionist exhibitions, he preferred to be known as a ‘Realist’. Degas was interested in depicting contemporary life. Among his favourite subjects were the ballet, horse racing, theatre and cabaret scenes, as well as female figures at their toilette. He rarely painted en plein air, and often worked in artificial rather than natural light. In the later years of his life Degas used pastel more than any other medium; as his eyesight declined his use of the material became noticeably broader and freer.

Berthe Morisot (1841–1895)

Morisot played an important role in the formation of the Impressionist group. She exhibited at all but one of the group’s exhibitions. Following her marriage to Eugène Manet (brother of Edouard Manet) in 1874, their home became a regular meeting place for Impressionist artists. Morisot enjoyed painting landscapes but after her marriage she concentrated almost exclusively on domestic scenes, depicting the daily activities of middle-class women. This kind of subject matter was considered appropriate for a woman artist belonging to the 'haute bourgeoisie'.

Camille Pissarro (1830–1903)

Pissarro was the only artist to exhibit at all eight Impressionist exhibitions. His early work was influenced by Corot. Pissarro briefly adopted a pointillist technique from 1886-88 after meeting Signac and Seurat, but subsequently returned to his earlier Impressionistic style. Although he did paint still-lives and portraits, Pissarro is best known for his rural landscapes showing people at work.

Alfred Sisley (1839–1899)

Alfred Sisley met Renoir, Bazille and Monet while studying at Gleyre’s studio. Deeply impressed by Monet’s innovations he later worked with him at Argenteuil. Sisley showed at the Salon des Refusés and at four Impressionist exhibitions between 1874 and 1882. It was only after his death that he began to receive due recognition for his work and for his role in the development of Impressionism.