Late 19th century France sometimes was not a friendly place for the then-considered-radical impressionists. This book analyzes how the friendships and family lives of the impressionists (such as Monet, Manet, Bazille, and Renoir) were influenced by societal expectations and political events. Their art was unprecedented, and while society may have been slow to accept it, they continued with their work, and today it is revered.
This book, beyond being a biography, is a commentary on friendship and rebellion. For this reason, I found it very enjoyable. Sue Roe provides ample descriptive details while also explaining interesting historical facts. By learning about their political, economic, and social tendencies, and by analyzing written records of the painters themselves, the reader is provided with a detailed characterization of each individual artist.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in art or history. The writing is somewhat slow, since it is essentially a history book, however the content is extremely captivating and worth the read.
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