PRINT December 1980

The Anatomy of Disruption: European and American Painting 1880-1906

BEFORE ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM, Surrealism, Constructivism, Dadaism, Cubism and all the other 20th-century movements, before them came Post-Impressionism. The story of how this term originated in the camarilla of Roger Fry, as a throw-away title for a 1910 exhibit of dead French radicals active 20 years earlier, has often been told. Their generation was said to have represented a turning point in the avant-garde that even many years later could only be characterized negatively, as having appeared after and in conscious challenge to an earlier movement. That is what the word “post,” in art language, generally implies.

Indefinitely broadened to include painting on several fronts during 1880–1906, “Post-Impressionism,” a misnamed show mounted last winter by the Royal Academy, traveled in very reduced if still grandiose form from London to the National Gallery of Art in Washington this past summer.1 A visitor there was greeted by many supreme examples of the art of painting. Walking among them, one was moved to ask what, in the ways they were fostered, they can tell us during an artistic period our pundits have dubbed . . . “Post-Modernism.”

The prefixes in both cases are, of course, misleading. To accept the tag post-modern for current artistic developments is to be hoodwinked by a dogma about our tradition so restrictive and antihistorical as to rule out the greater part of the still-living ideas which modernists alluded to or practiced. Similarly, Post-Impressionism was always known to be a chronological, not a stylistic or conceptual term. Applied to scenes beyond France, without native Impressionist episodes, the phrase fails even to be descriptive. Judging by the record, then as now, one sees mixed attitudes toward new possibilities, not only in yeoman work but in the art of innovators. But the new themes do pose problems of allegiance or rejection in epochs that see themselves as the inheritors of a prestigious legacy, at the verge, however, of break-up and adulteration. So, their challenge is judged, not as one of extending but of re-formulating, perhaps even of “correcting” certain drives, imbalances or extremes . . . magnetic in their influence but also fatigued in their usefulness.

If it were to account for the ragged process by which artists meet this challenge, with all its various pressure points, an exhibition should evolve into a full survey. Even more, it must give to issues very different weights than those assigned by later orthodoxy. The show included examples of watered-down Impressionism and souped-up academicism—often they amount to very much the same ineffectual thing (for example John Singer Sargent and Lovis Corinth). Such curatorship receives a bad press from those offended by the fact that key figures—Seurat, Gauguin, Van Gogh and Cézanne—were swamped by material that failed its entrance exam for the modernist canon. Far from missing the point of history—the linear history favored by past criticism—the show seeks a more intimate and precise understanding of past events by examining historical ideologies rather than exemplifying them. This kind of deliberate, portmanteau approach, skeptical of hierarchical thinking, risks giving a very chaotic, criss-cross view of phenomena, but is in itself, with both virtues and defects, symptomatic of the historical moment we are living through.

The question of what can be learned from “Post-Impressionism” is, then, entirely bound up with our splintered consciousness today. One sector of present esthetics, for instance, is known for its “revisionist” taste, a penchant which the show will certainly fuel. On that basis, the evidence reveals that in the beginning there was not Monet, say, but Jules Bastien-Lepage! By 1880 this gifted young painter of peasant children had just rocketed to international fame. With a hyper-photographic style emulating the most popular visual medium of the age, Bastien created a vision of rural maidenhood burdened by a poverty which is nevertheless sweetly endured and redeemed by a mawkish Catholic faith. Bastien’s lead, made to look progressive by a few eye-drops of loose handling in the backgrounds, was to be taken up in France, Belgium, and above all England.

To the rebels of that decade, such typical grit and greasepaint—realism, not as honest depiction of contemporary life, but at its most debased and kitschy—had to be swept clean out of the frame. But Bastien’s spiritual aura was to reappear in Maurice Denis, in Jan Toorop, and Giovanni Segantini, far bolder artists in their ’90s context. Similarly, the accent on primitive, folkloric ritual experience, stoic and close to the soil, was continued by Pissarro, extended by Gauguin and his circle and stressed by Paula Modersohn-Becker. Even “photographic” realism was not rejected, at least not in the remarkable drawings by the Belgian Xavier Mellery, titled “The Soul of Things,” or the work of his formidable student Fernand Khnopff. Discovering their art, one feels suspended midway in a line of development that stretches implausibly from Whistler to Magritte.

Although many new themes and motifs were introduced, very few of the old subjects dropped out at the end of the century. It was, rather, the way artists declassed themselves, revamped their pictorial means, and expressed troubled moods that transformed the art of the period. Searching for causes, the show locates them in the Europe-wide chemistry of artistic interactions.

Time and again, they act as various kinds of reagents and solvents unclogging the thickened environment of positivism and the cult of property venerated by the Victorian bourgeoisie. The art that manifested such values not only survived Impressionism, of course, but continued to flourish. It drew upon narrative and representational techniques that turned variable shifts of psychic life and human emotion into so many exchangeable market commodities. In 1886, as one trivial example, “J.E. Millais’ ‘Bubbles’ . . . was soon turned into an advertisement for Pears’ Soap.”2 On this score, it is easy to see why artists objected to what might be called the realist trade. Its accretion of detail struck them as vulgar obscurantism and its characteristic charades looked heavy-handed and posturing.

But some artists, the ones we would call “advanced,” recoiled just as strenuously from Impressionism, which they saw as an entirely unreflective art of sensate enjoyment, devoid of mind. Even Zola, who had defended them from the start, complained in 1880 that “[the Impressionists] are . . . easily satisfied, unfinished, illogical, exaggerated, sterile: nevertheless they need only work at contemporary Naturalism in order to put themselves at the head of a movement.” While Zola spoke against the Impressionists as if they had betrayed an earlier promise, Gauguin, who had worked with Pissarro, rebuked them in the name of the future: “The Impressionists study color exclusively . . . but without freedom, retaining the shackles of verisimilitude. They heed only the eye and neglect the mysterious centers of thought.” To these newer artists, the Impressionists were only latter-day realists who grasped after optical experience all the more desperately as they invoked it in shorter, fugitive durations of time.

The elusiveness of Impressionism as a target is arguably one of the more fascinating spectacles of the show and it is quickened by the fact that Impressionism itself altered while engaging the changing climate of ideas. The shift, for example, from a ’70s riverscape by Monet to one of his ’90s water lilies is very symptomatic. Within a fond and playful sparkle of small dabs, the cools among them everywhere refreshing the heats of light, the earlier picture disperses the whole phenomenal world into capricious reflections, plausibly detached from each other though they also recompose loosely and restfully into a shimmering pictorial bath. Twenty years later, the desired stimuli had so multiplied and the complexity of responsive touches and marks had so increased that an intimate, unresisting openness had vanished. The surface as a field of improvised notations had been replaced by a dense, mottled substance which occupied the horizonless frame, making it into a kind of aquatic tapestry where sensation itself seems absorbed into the roughage of paint. All incident now partakes of a meditated rhythm, suggesting an endless and timeless procreative flux.

Clearly the same underlying temperament is at work in both phases of Monet’s art, the conceptual difference being that he had become reconciled with and then passionately interested in the inherent conflict between his naturalistic motives and his symbolic effects. Though this was a path his younger contemporaries would not follow, it was aligned with some of their own directives, more programmatically uttered. For they believed most emphatically that the assertion of the artist’s sensibility was not the end of the work so much as it was the means by which to convey a general state of affairs broader than the individual mind, and at times beyond visual observation. In fact, the whole idea of individualism had been tainted for new artists by the earlier 19th century’s worship of the entrepreneur, the economic man, with his supposed virtues of egotism and pragmatic self-interest. Whether it be collective vision, a scientific or philosophic theory, or a social cause, art would now be at the service of a principle whose inner constancy was assumed. The artist would claim to have privileged access to preexisting zones of thought, perception and feeling. And it is now suggested that messages from these zones can reach us only in a stylized form and pictorial code discovered by the artist, who forges unity upon them through an underlying pattern. At the same time as he stresses the wide objectivity of his aims, he tends to realize them through the ever more frank and willful artifice of his performance.

A survey of European art covering the period 1860–80 would look far more uniform than this one. The bulk of it, with history painting at one end, the insurgent Courbet, Millet, and Daumier in the middle, and genre at the other end, would amount to a realist hegemony, worked out in various brownish derivatives. Only Impressionism, rather late in the period, would stand out in high chromatic opposition to the idioms that surrounded it. One way it did so was by its regular allowance of a coarser, sketchier, and more fragmentary handling than realism could tolerate. By this stroke, it nominally deflated the Victorian work ethic in the artistic environment, leading the workaholic Zola to lament its “easily satisfied,” “exaggerated” results. One might have guessed at some of the artistic disarray that would follow, but not the centrifugal layout of the next 20 years. “Post-Impressionism” sets a scene in which many different sovereign styles and palettes mingle, compete but also splay from each other, and the show charts them according to their internally attracting or repelling principles.

The main catalytic agent was Impressionist brushwork. In context, this texture, acknowledged as one of the most primitivizing elements of the movement, also proved to be most liberating. The historian Theodore Zeldin writes:

The sketch, which the romantics had valued for its expressiveness and spontaneity, was gradually seen as a valid work of art, and not simply a preparation. . . . What used to be condemned as amateurism was now raised to a new status; and this opened up new possibilities for genuinely amateur painters too. It was not a pure coincidence that amateur painting suddenly became a popular hobby . . . as the flood of Teach Yourself Painting books testified.3

But Impressionism led more to hermeticism than it did to egalitarian repercussions in the immediate history of art. It was also certainly one of the period’s contradictions that an antimaterialist stance should be realized through an enhanced consciousness of the material character and expressiveness of paint. It did not actually discredit the Impressionists’ example that their openness of contour was closed and denied by line as in Synthetism, or that their personal calligraphy and broken touches should be rationalized into a dotted system by the Seurat group. The exhibition’s wall labels allude to decorative contrasts and the flattening of planes as the decisive modernist attributes of the era’s art. Too much has been made, I think, of these textbook distinctions. More fateful dynamics were at work in the micro-structure of painting itself, where artists discovered sudden pliancies in the colored matter and came to see it as an infinitely mutant substance alive with symbolic possibilities.

Without some feeling for the excitement that welled up through its engagement with process, one will miss a great deal of the impact of this art. Profiled by their brusque shaping of unit, there emerge Signac’s ecstatic mosaics, Ensor’s peeling and torrential driblets, Gaston La Touche’s fluffy washes, and Philip Wilson Steer’s euphoric patched and caked impasto. Such an obviously extendable list already shows the proliferation of sudden, intensified schemes of control, operating at shorter or longer remove but always with an implicit debt to the “anarchic” treatment of the Impressionist surface. One can see efforts either to loosen it further or tighten it, and with these impulses entirely unexpected emotional tones are precipitated through the new stylistic modes.

For painters, one of the difficulties in this whole, fissionable turn of events was the absence of training that could be relied on to project the desired order on nature. With their horror of the formulaic and mechanical, they turned away from the highly elaborated body of learning, with all its stable and traditional skills, represented by an institution such as the Ecole des Beaux Arts. Certain independents, such as Redon and Moreau, or freer studios, such as Julian’s and Ranson, played an important short-term role in the development of fresh talent, though more by their permissions than their precepts. Because of its monopolistic technique, in which most of the younger artists had been schooled, realism had to be opposed by alternate skills, brilliant and convincingly self-contained in their own right.

There is, I think, as a result, a kind of jerry-built confidence that springs up with each successive wave of “difficult” painting, and the manner by which some of it is transmitted smacks more of miraculous conversion than of gradual or painfully critical argument. When Sickert proselytizes the art of Degas in England, there is instantly a worshipful response. When Paul Sérusier brings back his Talisman from Pont-Aven in Brittany, his Nabi friends hasten to apply its lessons. On the occasion of the first showing of Seurat’s La Grande Jatte at the Salon des Vingt in Brussels, a whole cadre of Belgian Neo-impressionists is born virtually overnight. It would not have been the first time that innovation was appointed with an almost sacred rank, but the phenomenon of widespread cultism is now, in the 1880s, quite exceptional in its spiritedness. Oracular cliques, cenacles, and elites multiply rapidly across the continent, assisted by young critical apologists working for recently established intellectual journals. The show documents a vertigo of creativity . . . and avant-garde promotion.

For all that, such activities did not stay the course. One has to imagine clusters of news-hungry, potentially rebellious artists, most of them arising from conventional bourgeois milieux, who are in a leaderless state. And while this ripens them for defiant outward gestures, in truly risk-taking circumstances, a scattering of regional and psychic barriers or predispositions hedges them in. Nowhere can this be seen more graphically than in the ideological collapse of the New English Art Club, which in the ’90s moves from a dissident esthetic aware of French experimentalism to various revivalist idioms considered more aligned with British taste and ethnic values. (The way in which English art abjectly opens itself to foreign influence and then sporadically resists it characterizes the scene there even today.) Further, we are likely to be confused by backward-looking aspects of otherwise “progressive” art forms. The high regard for Puvis de Chavannes, for instance, among certain radicals (Gauguin, Denis), can be explained by his archaic simplicities of form and not those Grecian references which agree with official taste. As for his own great popularity in general, Puvis, while in some respects close to the innovators, was also safer. “It was the same in politics,” writes Zeldin: “the electorate was frightened by the extreme Reds . . . and it was the moderate radical-socialists who were admitted to apply their ideals of social justice in suitably diluted form.”4

Basically, what we admire in the artistic radicals is their moral protest, their rejection of cant and shopworn narrative in favor of evocation by the most direct means possible. This is the moral basis of Symbolism. The Neo-Platonic, and therefore purely theoretical, reasons for this stance, evolved by the critic Albert Aurier or the writer Gustave Kahn, are not the issue here. Much more important for us is the antiauthoritarian tenor of the liveliest cultural thinking of the day, and the fact that it was expressed positively as the call to a free artistic conscience, the integrity of which becomes the cardinal impulse in the incoming tide of modern art. Just the same, if such integrity had been realized in any sizable measure of works, “Post-Impressionism” would have emerged as a very boring spectacle, which it is not.

Why is it that one of the most consistent and timely seizures of avant-garde opportunity, Emile Bernard’s in 1888, remains one of the least affecting? For Bernard, “atheist that I was [he is speaking much later], it [Brittany] made me a saint . . . it was this Gothic Brittany which initiated me in art and God.”5 At the very least, then, we should have expected from this enlightened painter an art of strong revelation. While it is true that he outstripped practically everyone in the achievement of Cloisonniste form, its abstraction was matched only by its detachment of feeling. From the viewpoint of “the next logical step,” at a critical instant of history, Bernard is a winner. Nonetheless, Robert Goldwater wrote in his admirable book Symbolism of Bernard’s

Breton genre subjects whose simplifications of modeling and design, although audacious for the time, are still chiefly concerned with purely visual harmonies. Only in repetitions and continuities of carved silhouettes . . . is there some expression of a “soul of a people.” . . . Otherwise the design remains external to the subject, and the artist an observer.6

This suggests that what moves us in a work of art is not the daring of its strategy but the depth of eruptive experience to which the created form alludes. It is instructive to hear Bernard being called an “observer” merely, just at the moment when his program claims the most intense empathy. Perhaps it could be said that his symbolic schemes had outrun his emotional resources—just as the trappings of piety had submerged religious spirit in Bernard’s opposite, Bastien-Lepage. Given the consistency of their positions, the excesses of both artists are similarly crass.

In discovering new advantages, the Post-Impressionists, it can be argued, also happened upon serious occupational hazards. Their newly won freedom, for instance, made the convergence of artistic means and ends immensely uneasy, tense, and problematic, a dilemma that had never been so continuous. Only a very few artists, like Cézanne, could make the act of wrestling with this dilemma the very content of their art, endowing the struggle itself with grandeur. Throughout the halls of the Washington show, one begins to feel that the ascendancy of certain French artists was earned by their ability to conceptualize process, that is, to discriminate between artistic style and the substances through which it was rendered. This impressed but did not overwhelm artists in many other countries, who were caught up with the social urgencies of their time. The conflict between these two principles—which I grossly simplify—was by no means settled even as the waves of French influence spread ever outward.

In Edvard Munch and James Ensor, such conflict internally activated increasingly disfigured and private visions. The symbolic amplitude of their art was the genuine consequence of their personal torment, not a rationale imposed upon a stylistic strategy. At their best, they evolve a sinuous or shredded color, a kind of toxin that etches in their exposure of bourgeois sham, as if the manners they scourged were decomposing before our eyes.

By this token, the prudent course for artists was about as treacherous as the enterprising one, and I am certainly not arguing that eclectic policies had any better chance of warding off jeopardy than single-minded programs. One sees a kind of tactful, chic painting, very prevalent in this era, which combines a little of this and a little of that, which abjures state myths, for instance, but indulges in allegory, or which rejects illustrational form but carries on an old-style moralism, or which goes vaporous but not mysterious. The more the artist calculates the ratios of opposed conditions, or tries to conciliate them side by side, the more he hesitates and estranges himself from the core of experience. I am talking about a type of artistic mind which simply has no center, no deeply convinced set of values, and which therefore tends to act only expediently—a behavior pattern known in many different historical epochs but one which is especially noticeable in the fin-de-siècle. There is a line between ambivalence and evasion that such artists blithely cross over, without knowing it. One has only to compare the art of Lautrec with that of Gustav Klimt to see the difference I am pointing at. For at this juncture, one begins to realize how much the radicals had put everyone in a bind, not allowing them to stand pat but also discouraging them from making what seemed very evidently self-destructive moves. Once again, in context, the art of these radicals seems wildly implausible and caricatured, dabbles by so many sacrificial brains that have gone up in smoke. If you imagine the field of art as a lawn, the paintings of Van Gogh resemble the most frightful crabgrass.

This Dutch artist had impeccable credentials as a fiend of tangled form and lurid color. At the same time, in writing to Bernard in 1888, with the most exquisite rejecting courtesy, he could say: “I am too afraid of departing from the possible and the true . . . I hardly have the desire or the courage to strive for the ideal as it might result from . . . abstract studies.”7 Instead of the ideal, Van Gogh’s ethic was rooted in realism, above all the realism concerned with social injustice, to which he certainly had the courage to expose himself in life. Inspired by all those who, from the engravers of the Illustrated London News on through Millet, had depicted the wretchedness of the poor and the anguish of oppressive labor, he incorporated that pain into a sacramental vision of nature, made radiant in the crucible of the avant-garde.

Whether to sublimate their goals or assert them against the grain of such vanguardism, politically conscious artists faced a quandary. It would be misleading, in any event, to think they were few in number. Because the creative unrest in all the arts reflected the increasing agitation of radical, particularly anarchist, politics, it would be more reasonable to single out those artists who weren’t nominally or actively of the left. But while there was a vague and suggestive corollary between political and artistic dissent, there was no specific parallel. As the new art took its practitioners away from any empirical account of the world, it released their vision into all kinds of obscure and alienated Symbolist realms, but also constrained their social engagement, which depended on a pictorial language available to lay publics. Concerned artists would have been stigmatized by their peers for returning to a social realism whose style had been appropriated by the philistine middle class. Yet this was the main style that might, in theory, have been able to reach out to workers and peasants. There would be avant-garde hypotheses of a future and better society, with collective art forms—to be appreciated by or across all the classes—but for the moment, which would extend quite dismally into the future, artists would feel demoralized, weakened in their concept of reality and walled off in their consciousness.

A heartening exception to this rule, better known in Europe than it is here, but still not recognized as much as it merits, is the work of the Italian Divisionisti. If the Washington show did nothing more than introduce, and beautifully install, Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo’s monumental The Fourth Estate (finished in 1901), it would have performed a great service. This giant canvas, originally worked up from studies called The Ambassadors of Hunger, should now take its place as the fifth of the large key works of Post-Impressionism, alongside Seurat’s La Grande Jatte, Ensor’s The Entry of Christ Into Brussels, Cézanne’s Les Grandes Baigneuses and Gauguin’s Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? In company with his impressively talented colleagues Angelo Morbelli and Plinio Nomellini, Pellizza evolved a Divisionist style that has very little in common with Seurat’s impassively carbonated surfaces. One notes, rather, that as it incessantly reiterates the volumes of things, with every conceivable manner of stitching and stippling, it bodies them forth with a palette that sometimes has a dewy and sometimes a metallic effervescence, much as if the Italians were Pre-Raphaelites who had read Ogden Rood, the color theorist.

The Fourth Estate, in fact, has an incredibly complex but more muted colorism, marrying a fine drizzle of alizarins and cobalt greens with a pervasive amber and mocha ground. But this is only to be seen close up, for at the distance required to take in the full onward march of these farm workers, the tableau has a sun-shocked haze to it, composed of the bleached chalkiness of the earth and the dun-colored, close-valued garb of the crowd. (The reworked violet and green of the far landscape is a coda to this scheme.) And as these effects of hue exchange with each other, confusing the senses, they also oscillate in the mind, which has the illusion that the scene is both concretely described and dissolved in light.

In bringing off this illusive feat, Pellizza affirmed a social vision that was inseparable from his scientific interests and symbolic beliefs. Light, rationally determined and analyzed, had a regenerative vitality that went hand in hand with that “true force [which] lies in the intelligent and good workers who, with the tenacity of their ideals, oblige other men to follow them or to clear the way because retrograde power cannot stop them.”8 Italy had been and continued to be the scene of innumerable agricultural strikes for better wages and prices, shorter hours and improved conditions. Such protests had been bloodily repressed and large emigrations had followed. The Socialist Pellizza, who had been vice-president of the Peasants’ and Workers’ Mutual Aid Society in his hometown, Volpedo, in celebrating the implacable will of the farmers, associated it with the triumph of light. It was hope, of course, rather than truth, upon which this work was founded: the hope that advanced technical research and proletarian insurgency were, in the end, equally progressive forces.

From the standpoint of Italian social realism, which dealt with the misery of the poor in more grisly and operatic terms than elsewhere, Pellizza’s imagery must have looked hopelessly detached and even phantasmal. But when you put it next to European Neo-impressionism at large, it has an astonishing solidity, without in the least surrendering its gossamer color refractions. For the weight, confidence, and above all, the dignity of these forward-striding, triadically disposed figures owes much to the Raphael of the School of Athens. Without any strain, their clothes look situationally drab and worn while at the same time heroically general and timeless.

The most interesting picture with which to compare The Fourth Estate is the much smaller and earlier Ironworkers—Noontime, by the American Thomas Anshutz. Its hyper-realist view of a factory lunch break has its subjects in various unconnected activities, horsing around or pumping a well, all elbows. Though one senses the whole tableau as studiously composed, it is observed with the apparent candor of a street photo. The random character of the movement suggests a true instant of perception whereas the Pellizza, despite the internal conversations within its massing, stakes everything on a continuous evocation of action rather than historical event. Curiously enough, the obvious poise of Anshutz’s workers derives, not from a sympathy with their lot, but from the pastoral studies of the male nude by his teacher Eakins. Ironworkers is a refreshing and intriguing but also one-shot and noncommittal approach to a subject which was elaborated by Pellizza under the pressure of disparate ideals, meshed together in paint by sheer incandescent faith.

The aftermath of Post-Impressionism, as we well know, was to debouch in more savage idioms, sampled in the “heritage” room of the show. The early art of Picasso, Matisse, and Braque plows through the debris of available manners, treating them only as so many hurdles to jump, until these artists hit their modernist stride. New tensions and disciplines would beset them as they apparently ran amok amidst all the Western and a great many of the non-Western traditions. It is clear that the preceding period had won for such men the irrevocable right to a view of art-making in which concept and process, are fused in one operation. The ensuing development had all the fragrance of an explosion. It led directly to those ideas of pure and transcendent painting,—the eventual primacy of concept—and later those stifling reductions and complacent absolutes from which many of us, in the so-called post-modern epoch, are in recoil. The problems confronting our most alert people today, with their similarly vast assortment of options, are almost the opposite of those faced by the Post-Impressionists. Its heroic phase long past, the libertarian ideal, while demanding respect, has been inverted to express only itself. Nowadays freedom only means license, where once it stood for accountability: personal, moral, artistic. In that sense, modernizing drives have not saved us from the predicament of being modern. We should like to regain that emotional integration and social responsiveness which the 20th century made acutely necessary but threw so drastically out of kilter. It is just that we very likely have to seek them out by filtering through attitudes that the “Post-Impressionists,” not all of a piece and not always decisively, were bent on discarding. If, a hundred years from now, our successors are given a display of our visual art, and if some of it manages to hold on to the best of modernism as a few of the artists a century ago kept the best of realism, that show would tell of the costs the artists paid and of the travails they endured.

Max Kozloff is a photographer and writer: his latest book is Photography and Fascination (Addison House, 1979).


1. The full tittle of the exhibition is: “Post-Impressionism: Cross-Currents in European and American Painting, 1880-1906” (May 25 to September 1, 1980). The British catalogue lists 428 works and is an altogether more compendious affair than the American one, which runs to 273. A team of British scholars, headed by Alan Bowness, organized the show at the Royal Academy, and their research was very summarily reduced for American audiences. For the National Gallery, an American section was appended, selected by John Wilmerding, assisted by Wanda Corn.

2. Asa Briggs, The Nineteenth Century, New York, 1970, p. 317.

3. Theodore Zeldin, France 1848–1945, Vol. 2: “Intellect. Taste and Anxiety,” Oxford (England), 1977, p. 475.

4. Zeldin, p. 473.

5. Unpublished manuscript, quoted in the Royal Academy catalogue, Post Impressionism, p. 41.

6. Robert Goldwater, Symbolism, New York, 1979. p. 97.

7. Quoted by Linda Nochlin in Realism, Baltimore, 1971, p. 244.

8. Quoted in the Royal Academy catalogue, p. 245.