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Vibrant impressionism: 35 photos in nature, studios, gardens and greenhouses

One of the most significant technical and visual revolutions for impressionist artists was the birth and expanse of photography. Photography made an important contribution to the painter’s art: new construction of perspective, figures deliberately cut off by the edge of the canvas (so that they look like random shots). Besides, the impressionists became almost the first generation of artists in the history of art whose life can be studied from photographs — ceremonial and casual, yellowish of time, and those restored by modern pros in the latest computer programs.
Title photo: Claude Monet in his studio in front of his paintings.

Edgar Degas

Julie, a daughter of Berthe Morisot, recalled the friendly dinners where Edgar Degas was running around the table with the camera like a child who got hold of a treasure. He took photographs of his friends, their children, sitters and ballerinas. Some of these photographs became sketches for the artist’s future paintings.
Edgar Degas. Self-Portrait with Christine and Yvonne Lerolle, 1895−96.
Edgar Degas with a maid. 1895.
Edgar Degas. Dancers straighten the straps of the dresses. 1895.
Edgar Degas. Blue Dancers
Blue Dancers
1898, 65×65 cm
  • Photo: Edgar Degas. After the bath. Woman wiping her back.
  • The painting with the same title by Edgar Degas.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Renoir was portrayed many times, and these photographs can be of great help if we want to trace several decades of his life, to find the images of his favorite sitters, friends and family. He spent the last seven years of his life on a wheelchair, but this did not keep him from working even when his hands became motionless and a paintbrush had to be tied to them.

Auguste Renoir (at the table on the right) with friends. 1900.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Stéphane Mallarmé. December 1895. Photo by Edgar Degas.

The day after the funeral of Stéphane Mallarmé, 1898. (Next to sitting Renoir is Misia Sert-Nathanson).
  • Auguste Renoir seated in his studio in Paris
  • Auguste Renoir painting outdoors in Cagnes, 1912-1914.
Renoir and Madame de Galéa in the studio at Cagnes, 1912

Claude Monet

Claude Monet was a media personality: the reporters came to Giverny to photograph and
interview the artist. Politicians, princes and princesses, actors, directors, gallery owners walked in his garden.
  • Claude Monet by the pond with water lilies. 1910.
  • Claude Monet and Georges Clemenceau on the Japanese Giverny Bridge, 1921.

Claude Monet and actress Charlotte Lysès at Giverny, 1915. Photograph by Sacha Guitry.

Claude Monet working on a panel with water lilies. 1920.

In this photographic cycle from the workshop in Giverny, not only the dimensions of the paintings are shocking. Just look what kind brushes the artist used to paint the famous panels with water lilies!

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Photographer Maurice Gibert was a close friend of Toulouse-Lautrec. Ironic, shedding, amusing, and shocking Lautrec is much more convincing than the literary and biographical image of a single disabled person.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec painting Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Photo by Maurice Gibert.
Mr Tremolada, Moulin-Rouge manager shows Toulouse-Lautrec a poster of Jules Cheret, the father of the modern poster. Paris, 1892.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in costumes. Photo by Maurice Gibert.

Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro was constantly surrounded by people: students, members of his large family, colleagues. He was the artist who had a rare talent of a convincing teacher.

Camille Pissarro in his studio in Eragny, 1894
  • Camille Pissarro with his sons Lucien, Felix and  Ludovic-Rodo, 1894
  • Paul Cézanne (in the middle) and Camille Pissarro (on the right) at Auvers-sur-Oise, 1874
  • Camille Pissarro with a canvas trolley, near his home in Eragny. 1895.
  • Camille Pissarro with his family. 1895.

Gustave Caillebotte

Beau Caillebotte in the center of Paris, or engineer Caillebotte with drawings of another
boat, or florist Caillebotte, who grew more flowers than painted — the artist resembles the subject of one of his paintings.
Gustave Caillebotte at his naval architect’s drafting table, circa 1891−1892.
Photograph by Martial Caillebotte, the artist’s brother.
  • Gustave Caillebotte and his dog Bergère on the Place du Carrousel, Paris. Photo taken around 1892 by Martial Caillebotte
  • Gustave Caillebotte in his greenhouse. 1892.

John Singer Sargent

Sargent was an artist and a traveler, the artist without a home and homeland, and he lived, perhaps, in the most impressionistic way. He was an American who grew up and later lived in all of Europe with hundreds of travel sketches left after him.

John Singer Sargent in his Paris workshop. 1883.

John Singer Sargent painting outdoors. 1888−1889.

Berthe Morisot

For a long time, critics did not take Berthe Morisot seriously. She was fabulously beautiful, and therefore they expected from her a successful marriage and an early breaking up with painting, as if with a temporary whim.

Berthe Morisot 1870.

  • Berthe Morisot with her husband Eugène Manet and their daughter, Julie in Bougival (c.1880)
  • Berthe Morisot 1893.
Photo sources:,,,,,,,,, тулуз-лотрек.рф,,,,,,,,,,

Collected by Anna Sydelnykova