IMPRESSIONISM: Art, Leisure and Parisian Society by Robert L. Herbert
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IMPRESSIONISM: Art, Leisure and Parisian Society

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An immensely impressive, lavishly illustrated, and superbly researched revisionist study of the Impressionist movement. Herbert (History of Art/Yale) has devoted 20 years to the creation of this monumental study; his efforts will be applauded not only by scholars but also by general readers interested in the art and history of the late 19th century. Turning his attention to the leisurely pursuits of Parisians under the Second Empire, the author provides insights into such pleasure haunts as cafÉs, the Opera House, dance halls, theaters, race tracks; holidays along the Seine, and vacations by the sea. Paris itself was being transformed by Baron Haussman, and Herbert convincingly portrays the fascination that the changing face of the city held for many of the Impressionists. He is equally adept at depicting such rituals as theater-going, and illuminates the differing social attitudes to be found among the audiences at the cafÉ-concerts, the music-halls, and the ballet. Most importantly, he is able to relate these attitudes to the works of such artists as Manet, Degas, and Renoir. His analysis of Manet's ""A Bar at the Folies-Bergere,"" for example, is a model of concision and perceptivity. Happily, Herbert eschews the art-history jargon that mars so many studies. His writing is straightforward, lively, and evocative--in short, a delight to read. Add the 70 black-and-white illustrations and the 240 excellent color plates, and the combination of text and pictures is irresistible. Also included: a handy chronology, notes and bibliography. Altogether, then: a work every art lover will find a source of pleasure and information for years to come.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1988
Publisher: Yale Univ. Press