French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism

Ref: C2224513

French Impressionism’s bold, bright colours and feathery brushwork challenged the established academic style of the Paris Salon. Yet more new styles emerged just a few years after the first Impressionist exhibition, including Seurat’s divisionism and Gauguin’s exotic figures, outlined like stained glass. Our course sets this range into the context of the social conditions that determined subject-matter, including middle-class leisure, workers on the Seine, changes brought to the urban fabric by modernisation, and rebellions against modernity that took artists to Brittany, Arles and beyond. The course also draws on recent research into Impressionism as an international movement, looks at how French artists sold their work and considers why Cezanne was so admired in the early twentieth-century.

Course aim

The course introduces students to French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. It promotes enjoyment and understanding of painting, the styles artists used and the contexts in which they worked.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Discuss and compare some French paintings produced during the years c.1868-1910.
  • Identify the inter-connections between art and artistic training and art and society, including markets and commissions, within the limits of an introductory course.
  • Evaluate the importance of style and technique, as appropriate to a short introductory course.
  • Participate in looking at paintings and visiting galleries and museums.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member

Download full Course information sheet

French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism


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  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
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  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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