The Private Lives of the Impressionists is a wonderful impressionism book (non-fiction) about the 19th century French impressionists. The author, Sue Roe, provides you with a fascinating account of the lives of the Impressionists within the historical context of Belle Epoque Paris. It gives you, the reader, a deeper understanding of the difficulties these artists endured.
You will read about the not yet famous artists such as Manet, Renoir, Pissarro, Monet, Degas, Cezanne, Morisot and many others. The author also gives you a glimpse into the “backstory” of many of their famous paintings, providing a deeper appreciation of some of their magnificent artworks.
Sue Roe provides just the right amount of detail about each artist. She seamlessly manages to integrate their stories. You will read about the early friendships, the exchange of revolutionary ideas, how they influenced one another and the eventual falling out of some of the artists.
An impressionism book that details the difficulties that these artists faced
The book also details the personal struggles of some of the Impressionists who came from wealthy families. Many of these upper-class families did not approve or support their own children who wanted to become artists. It seems that being an artist went against the accepted norms.
Most of the impressionists struggled for the majority of their lives because of their unflinching dedication to their artwork. These artists refused to conform and abandon their artistic beliefs despite being scorned and ridiculed. And they were criticized again and again by the art world. Many of them barely sold any paintings.
How incredible that over a hundred years later, people of all ages go to museums all over the world and stand in awe of the impressionism colorful and vibrant legacy. If only they could see!!
This is the best non-fiction book as it is a factual biography of the impressionists. However, it is very easy to read and flows more like an art historical fiction novel.
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