The seventh Impressionist exhibition reversed the trend of the sixth. Degas, Cassatt, Raffaëlli, Forain and Zandomeneghi dropped out and Monet, Sisley and Caillebotte came back. Although landscapes dominated, wonderful genre pieces held their own by virtue of a compelling humanistic touch.
Pissarro's poignant paintings of individual country folk - Study of a Washerwoman (1880, Metropolitan Museum of Art), Young Peasant Woman Drinking Coffee (1881, The Art Institute of Chicago), The Shepherdess with a Stick (1881, Museé d'Orsay, Paris), and Young Peasant Girl in a Hat (1881, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC) - contrasted with his usual studies of lighting effects in the countryside (Figure Study in the Open Art, Sunlight Effects, 1881, The Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio).
Renoir submitted his celebrated Luncheon in Bougival, which was renamed The Luncheon of the Boating Party (1880-81, The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC). A joyous gathering of young adults hooking up, this lively composition features a number of the artist's friends assembled in the Restaurant Fournaise on an island on the Seine at Chatou. In the forground Renoir's future wife, Aline Charigot, puckers up her pert little mouth as her tiny lap dog stands upright on the table. Caillebotte, in a sleeveless tee-shirt, looks on.
Eight years after the first revolutionary exhibition and more than a decade after the Impressionist style united these young men and women, it was clear they were moving on to other technical challenges. Both Pissarro and Renoir painted firmer contours, while Monet concentrated on irridescent shimmering.
The seventh "Exposition des Artistes Indépendants" took place at 251 rue Saint Honoré in a building that housed a panorama of the battle of Reichenshoffen (commemorating the French defeat during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870-71). The strange juxtaposition of nationalism and avant-garde art did not escape the notice of some critics.
Scheduled for the entire month of March, the exhibition displayed 203 works by nine hard-core Impressionist artists.
Artists Participating in the Seventh Impressionist Exhibition:
- Gustave Caillebotte
- Paul Gauguin
- Armand Guillaumin
- Claude Monet
- Pierre-Auguste Renoir
- Alfred Sisley
- Mme. Berthe Morisot
- Camille Pissarro
- Victor Vignon