Post-Impressionism: c. 1886-1904

The work of van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Seurat together constitute Post-Impressionism and yet their work is so varied and unrelated, we might never otherwise think of these four artists as a group. Certainly van Gogh and Gauguin were friends and they briefly painted together, but each of these artists was concerned with solving particular issues that had to do with their own individual sensibility. Ironically, if anything ties these artists together it is this focus on subjectivity. This tutorial explores the sketchy multiperspectival views of Cézanne, Seurat’s systematized critiques of upper middle-class Paris, Gauguin’s fascination with the primitive and exotic, and van Gogh’s unerring ability to deeply convey human experiences.

Paul Gauguin, Coastal Landscape From Martinique (The Bay of St.-Pierre, Martinique), 1887, oil on Canvas, 50 × 90 cm (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen)
Gauguin and Laval's journey to Martinique is a lesser-known chapter in the history of nineteenth-century French painting.

Gauguin and Laval in Martinique

The Neo-Impressionists prided themselves on bringing scientific rigor to the hitherto largely intuitive Impressionist project.

Neo-Impressionist Color Theory

Henri Rousseau The Dream 1910
Artist Henri Rousseau painted The Dream in 1910, and it's imagery of a woman lounging on a sofa in the jungle was as surreal then as it is today.

Why Is This Woman in the Jungle? ...

Vincent van Gogh, The Potato Eaters, 1885, oil on canvas, 82 x 114 cm (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Vincent van Gogh Foundation).
What should a peasant painting smell like? Van Gogh has an opinion...

The Potato Eaters

Vincent van Gogh, The Bedroom, 1889, oil on canvas, 29 x 36-5/8 inches / 73.6 x 92.3 cm (Art Institute of Chicago)
Van Gogh’s refuge for artists in the south of France is depicted with expressive color and sophisticated innocence.

Vincent van Gogh, The Bedroom

Paul Gauguin, The Red Cow (detail)
Cropped figures, vivid hues, and unnatural light turn a humdrum pastoral scene into an act of aesthetic rebellion.

Paul Gauguin, The Red Cow

Paul Gauguin, Nevermore - detail
Gauguin’s nude is suspended between dreams and reality— just like his imperialistic vision of Tahiti.

Paul Gauguin, Nevermore