The Business Secrets of the Impressionists (3/10) Risky Business

Refused by the Salon des Beaux-Arts, unknown to the general public, the Impressionists faced tough times through the years.
For example, Claude Monet had to share an apartment with Renoir or Bazille, to get by.
When his small allowance was suddenly cut off by his father (who had found out that his girlfriend, Camille, was pregnant), Monet could barely pay his rent.
He and Renoir had to eat beans and hire the same models in order to survive.
During winter, they would actually heat their apartment by cooking the beans and have the models work as they warmed up the place.
Frédéric Bazille, who was also getting an allowance from his father, helped Monet by buying out one of his paintings for a few thousands francs - paid over monthly installments for years!

To go on painting, Monet and his friends needed paint tubes, canvases and models, among other things. It was costly!

Édouard Manet, the Impressionists' mentor, once discretely convinced his friends to buy a few of Monet's works.
In a letter that he wrote to one of them, Manet described Monet's situation as desperate.
Camille Pissarro also suffered from poverty. Even more so.
Pissarro had children. His wife was once so discouraged that she asked him to quit painting.
Paul Cézanne was also poor for a long time, until he inherited his father's wealth.
Cézanne and his father did not get along well. Like Monet, He had dishonored his family by dropping his studies.
Alfred Sisley's allowance was also cut off because of his father's bankruptcy.
He ended up the poorest of the Impressionists...
Ironically, Sisley's paintings got extremely valuable almost immediately after his death. He had the most tragic destiny of all of the Impressionists.
As poor as Monet, Renoir took it better. He was the only one seeing poverty almost as romantic.
And his charm, especially with the ladies, always got him some help at the right moment.
Edgar Degas struggled like Sisley, when his family also lost its fortune.
Not all Impressionists struggled financially; Bazille, Manet and Morisot were financially at ease while Caillebotte was rich.
The Impressionists were ignored and often ridiculed for years, while more traditional artists - today almost forgotten - got a lot of recognition back then.
The Impressionists did not have access to trade shows, boards of trade or subsidies. They were lonely entrepreneurs, like most of us were when we started.
As an entrepreneur, you surely remember that day when you told yourself "Enough is enough. No more waiting for someone else's approval. I need to do things my way. I need to run my own show."
And most of you, not unlike the Impressionists, have started your journey with one or more colleagues who shared your vision.
Perhaps your first discussions even took place in a Café?

Next: The Mission

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