Neo-Impressionism (a.k.a. Divisionism or Pointillism) is a movement and a style. It is a subdivision of the larger avant-garde movement called Post-Impressionism.
Neo-Impressionism organized the system of applying separate colors to the surface so that the eye mixed the colors rather than the artist on his or her palette. The theory of chromatic integration claims that these independent tiny touches of color can be mixed optically to achieve better color quality.
The Neo-Impressionist surface seems to vibrate with a glow that radiates from the minuscule dots that are packed together to create a specific hue. The painted surfaces are especially luminescent.
The French artist Georges Seurat studied then-current color theory publications produced by Charles Blanc, Michel Eugène Chevreul and Odgen Rood, and formulated a precise application of painted dots that would mix optically for maximum brilliance. He called this system Chromoluminarism.
The Belgium art critic Félix Fénéon described Seurat's systematic application of paint in his review of the Eighth Impressionist Exhibition in La Vogue in June 1886. He added a bit to this article in his publication Les Impressionistes en 1886, and from that little book his word néo-impressionisme took off as a name for Seurat and his followers.
How Long Was Neo-Impressionism a Movement?
From 1884 until 1935 (the end of Signac's life).
What Are the Key Characteristic of Neo-Impressionism?
- Tiny dots of local color.
- Clean, clear contours around the forms.
- Luminescent surfaces.
- A stylized deliberateness that emphasizes a decorative design.
- An artificial lifelessness in the figures and landscapes.
- Painted in the studio, instead of outdoors like the Impressionists.
- Carefully ordered and not spontaneous in its technique and intention.
- Subjects about contemporary life and landscapes.
Best Known Artists:
- Georges Seurat
- Paul Signac
- Camille Pissarro
- Henry Edmond Cross
- George Lemmen
- Théo van Rysselberghe
- Jan Toorop
- Maximilen Luce
- Albert Dubois-Pillet
Rewald, John. Post-Impressionism: From van Gogh to Gauguin.
New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1978.
Nochlin, Linda. Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: Sources and Documents.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1966.
Hutton, John C. Neo-Impressionism and the Search for Solid Ground: Art, Science and Anarchism in Fin-de-Siècle France.
Baton Rouge and London: Louisana State University Press, 1994.