Manet, Pissarro, Morisot, Cézanne, Seurat, Gauguin, Van Gogh and their colleagues made some of the most beautiful drawings in the history of art. This book sets drawings by the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists in the context of late nineteenth-century France and explains why these particular works are as important as their paintings in the representation of modernity.
A new approach to materials and a wholly inclusive attitude to exhibitions gave drawings a more elevated status in this period than ever before, which avant-garde artists welcomed in their preference for scenes from contemporary life. For the first time also, painting and drawing shared the same stylistic principles of spontaneity, freer handling and lack of finish. Pastels by Degas, watercolors by Cézanne, pen-and-ink drawings by Van Gogh and mixed media works by Toulouse-Lautrec have an autonomy of their own, which proved instrumental in the development of modern art.
The distinguished art historian Christopher Lloyd examines the drawings of twenty of the leading Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists, highlighting an aspect of French avant-garde art that remains relatively unexplored and was of immense importance for the art movements that followed