The Business Secrets of the Impressionists (5/10) Impressionists, Assemble!

A mission remains a mission, and a wish remains a wish, unless you act upon it.
And that is exactly what the Impressionists did.
First, they tried to convince as many painters as possible to join them in their crusade against what they considered bad taste!
Many artists refused their invitation, like Courbet, Corot, Daubigny, Jongkind, and James Abbott Whistler.
Even Édouard Manet declined their invitation, even though he was a source of inspiration for them.
Manet had inspired the Impressionists with his scandalous paintings "Olympia" and "The Luncheon on the Grass", exposed at the Salon, several years before.
30 accepted to join their ranks.
Among those who accepted were fine artists, like Boudin and Bracquemond, but the best one was a woman, called Berthe Morisot, who became famous in the end, like all of them.
As business entrepreneurs, the fact that Monet and his colleagues had trouble recruiting excellent painters, might not surprise you.
Many men and women choose security over entrepreneurship.
In the Spring of 1874, a few weeks before the Salon's opening, the Impressionists held their first independent exhibition.
It took place in the studio of a friend nicknamed Nadar. Nadar was a photographer, and his studios had wide windows facing the street. This modern look for an exhibition was totally unusual.
In that exposition, paintings were respected, hanged perfectly, so that everyone could appreciate them. No reward was attributed, and no restriction whatsoever was imposed on the artists.
Financed by all of them, the 1874 exhibition was almost a total disaster, and ended up with the dissolution of the society.
The group had sold only a few paintings, and the critics showed them no mercy.
The young painters went back their separate ways, heart broken.The Impressionist adventure might have very well stopped there, dead in its track. It obviously was not the case.

Next : The other exhibitions !

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