The French Impressionists are widely believed to be a small group of painters whose work costs millions of pounds. This is in fact not the case and here at Leighton Fine Art. We specialise in sourcing the great names and the great paintings of the time and make them available at sensible and affordable prices for all to enjoy.
To clarify its important to put into context who the “Impressionists” really were…….
The first “Impressionist” exhibition was held in Paris in 1874 and the name came about as a vicious critique of the painters by one art critic, a certain Louis Leroy, who labelled them in a derogatory manner – “Les Impressionistes”. This became their assumed name across all of the 8 exhibitions they held as a disparate group of individuals who were rejected by mainstream art of the time.
The majority of French Impressionists exhibiting at this 1st Exhibition are by no means household names. Today we know Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Cezanne etc but few are really familiar with the work of Ottin, Alfred Meyer, Louis Debras or Zacahrie Astruc – yet their work is wholly comparable but rarely seen or sought out by collectors. We have become obsessed with the big names and their “brand” to the detriment of art itself.
Over 30 painters were exhibiting at the first exhibition and the vast majority are hardly known and some now lost in obscurity – yet their work can be found for very modest sums and is very similar in execution to their fellow exhibitors of the time. Perhaps if the critics and dealers had singled some of them out rather than others then the art landscape might be vastly different than today.
We take as an example Henri Rouart – a sensational painter of his time who was exhibiting in the First impressionist exhibition yet today a good example of his work can be had for less than £10,000 GBP compared to a similar subject by Manet which we can add three noughts on the end of the price.
Victor Vignon is our next case in point – he started exhibiting with the Impressionists in 1877 at the third exhibition – his work is very close to that of Camille Pissarro – yet a fine example of his work can be had for under £10,000 yet a Pissarro will cost upwards of a million for a similar subject.
Even the great master’s work like Renoir and Degas can be had for a (comparatively) reasonable price. A small oil by Renoir can be yours for under £100,000 and a drawing by Edgar Degas less than £30,000.
Finally, we can look at what is known as the Post Impressionists – something in the name suggests something less than their namesakes – yet in reality, these painters pioneered the existing ideas and took them to new highs. Loiseau, Pinchon, Charreton are all artists that lived at the same time as the impressionists yet their work can be had for a fraction of the price.
So if you have a genuine interest in French Impressionists and this magnificent period in art history then look through our inventory and do some online research and your horizons will be broadened ….. you may discover a new artist whose pedigree is equal to his much more sought after peers.