Jules Breton specialized in rural peasant scenes.
Rosa Bonheur is a realist specializing in animals.
Gustave Courbet led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. Committed to painting only what he could see, he rejected academic convention and the Romanticism of the previous generation of visual artists. His independence set an example that was important to later artists, such as the Impressionists and the Cubists. Courbet occupies an important place in 19th-century French painting as an innovator and as an artist willing to make bold social statements through his work.
Transition from Realism to Impressionism
Édouard Manet, 1832 – 1883) was one of the first 19th-century artists to paint modern life, and a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism.
Eva Gonzalès is considered an Impressionist, but this is erroneous. She was a student of Manet and painted pretty much in his style. She died in childbirth at the age of 34, 6 days after the death of Manet. His only student.
Degas was important in the founding of Impressionism because he helped to organize their early exhibitions and showed his work in them. However, he hated the term Impressionism. He considered himself a Realist and related most strongly to Manet.
Caillebotte is considered an Impressionist but his style is more realistic.
Pissarro made important contributions to both Impressionism and Pointillism.
Sisley was a key painter of Impressionism. His output represents the popular notion of 'pure Impressionism. He mostly painted landscapes. He is a less important artist because his style did not grow or change over time.
Berthe Morisot was friends with Manet, but she did not train with him.
They constructed their pictures from freely brushed colours that took precedence over lines and contours. They portrayed overall visual effects instead of details, and used short "broken" brush strokes of mixed and pure unmixed colour—not blended smoothly or shaded, as was customary—to achieve an effect of intense colour vibration. It is an art of immediacy and movement, of candid poses and compositions, of the play of light expressed in a bright and varied use of colour.
Monet, Sisley, Morisot, and Pissarro may be considered the "purest" Impressionists, in their consistent pursuit of an art of spontaneity, sunlight, and colour. Degas rejected much of this, as he believed in the primacy of drawing over colour and belittled the practice of painting outdoors. Renoir turned away from Impressionism for a time during the 1880s, and never entirely regained his commitment to its ideas. Édouard Manet, although regarded by the Impressionists as their leader, never abandoned his liberal use of black as a colour, and never participated in the Impressionist exhibitions.
Photography developed in 1840s
From the seventeenth century to the early part of the twentieth century, artistic production in France was controlled by artistic academies which organized official exhibitions called salons. In France, academies are institutions and learned societies which monitor, foster, critique and protect French cultural production.