Let’s Be Friends: Relationships among the Neo-Impressionists

Theo van Rysselberghe, The Scheldt Upstream from Antwerp, Evening, 1892. Oil on canvas, 26 3/4 x 35 1/2 in. Collection of Bruce and Robbi Toll

Theo van Rysselberghe, The Scheldt Upstream from Antwerp, Evening, 1892. Oil on canvas, 26 3/4 x 35 1/2 in. Private collection

This Sunday’s panel about the artistic friendships and rivalries between Neo-Impressionists and other artists of the time inspired me to look deeper at the relationships among the artists inNeo-Impressionism and the Dream of Realities. Strong bonds existed between members of Les Vingt (XX) in Belgium and artists in the Société des Artistes Indépendants in Paris. For instance, Theo van Rysselberghe and Paul Signac were very close friends, and Rysselberghe would frequently visit Signac at his home in St. Tropez. Their time together at the seaside was spent sailing as well as discussing and creating art. Others, including Henri-Edmond Cross and Emile Verhaeren, would occasionally join the two on these trips. In Paris, multiple artists from the Neo-Impressionist movement would live together for periods of time or share studio space. This is the type of environment in which Signac hosted weekly social gatherings, during which painters, poets, critics, and musicians could come together to share ideas. The personal relationships between these artists explains some of the similarities in their works from that time, and reinforces the connection between them.

-Sara Swift, Graduate Intern for Programs and Lectures

Pin To Win: Dream Home of Realities Contest

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Neo-Impressionist painters relied on the use of the surreal grounded in reality to create scenes of mystical, dreamlike beauty. Their use of vibrant colors helped them capture a certain mood and tone. The Phillips Collection wants to know what vibrant colors and textures you would use to decorate your dream home! Enter our Dream Home of Realities Pinterest contest for a chance to win a grand prize that might make the walls of your dream home become a reality.

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • $500 worth of Farrow & Ball gift vouchers
  • A Farrow & Ball color consultation: a personal in-home color consultation with a trained Color Consultant from the new Farrow & Ball DC showroom in Friendship Heights. The Color Consultant will consider the light in the space, the shape of the room and architectural details, as well as the overall look you are trying to create before recommending a color scheme using Farrow & Ball paints and wallpapers.

HOW TO ENTER

1) Follow The Phillips Collection on Pinterest.

2) Create your own “Dream Home of Realities Contest” Pinterest board! Curate a board for your dream home inspired by scenes, colors, and textures in Neo-Impressionism and the Dream of Realities: Painting, Poetry, Music. Think about palette, lighting, mood—when you think of where you’d love to live, what do you see? To qualify for the grand prize, boards must include at least 4 pins from the Phillips’s Neo-Impressionism board and at least 4 pins from Farrow & Ball’s many home inspiration boards, but what you include is up to you—get creative! See our inspiration board here to get those creative pins flowing:

pinterest inspiration board

3) E-mail a link to your completed board to contests@phillipscollection.org with subject line “Dream Home of Realities Submission” to be officially entered into the contest.

The winner will be selected and contacted by January 16, 2015. We’re excited to be #NeoImpressed by your creativity!

 

Images: (1) Paul Signac, Place des Lices, Saint-Tropez, Opus 242, 1893. Oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 32 1/4 in. Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. Acquired through the generosity of the Sarah Mellon Scaife Family. Photograph © 2014 Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2) Georges Seurat, Seascape at Port-en-Bessin, Normandy, 1888. Oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 32 in. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the W. Averell Harriman Foundation in memory of Marie N. Harriman, 1972.9.21 (3) Maximilien Luce, The Louvre at the Pont du Carrousel at Night, 1890. Oil on canvas, 25 x 32 in. Private Collection (4) Theo van Rysselberghe, Canal in Flanders (Gloomy Weather), 1894. Oil on canvas, 23 3/4 x 31 1/2 in. Private collection

I See Your “Point”

Paul Signac, Setting Sun. Sardine Fishing. Adagio. (1891) The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

When I first heard The Phillips Collection was going to have a Neo-Impressionism exhibition, I immediately thought of Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte and the technique used to create it—pointillism. Pointillism is a technique in which small, distinct dots of pure color are applied in patterns to form an image. In a staff tour of the exhibition Neo-Impressionism and the Dream of Realities: Painting, Poetry, Music, exhibition curator Cornelia Homburg said that while the artists’ technique cannot be ignored, the beauty of the exhibition is really in the exploration of the imagery evoked that is often overlooked when considering Neo-Impressionism. Her perspective made me realize that I myself never truly look at the content of Neo-Impressionist works because I’m usually too fascinated with the technique used. However, Homburg stressed that the technique is important because it suggests a sense of radiance and allows the content of the images to resonate with the viewer.

The exhibition focuses on a time when there was an active exchange of ideas between painters, writers, composers, and poets which encouraged a synergy of senses. One of the pieces, Setting Sun, Sardine Fishing, Adagio by Paul Signac suggests this very idea of synthesis between art and music with his poetic title. Many of the works within the exhibition demonstrate a poetic quality that suggests a mood rather than a precise narrative, emphasizing a fantastical scene. Reality is captured, but it’s the stylistic techniques that create a feeling of dreaming. While one cannot ignore the ‘dots’, I urge you to embrace their revolutionary style and employ it to address their dreamlike, yet realistic content.

—Kelley Daley, Graduate Intern for Programs and Lectures