Back to WHKMLA Main Index . WHKMLA, Students' Papers Main Page . WHKMLA, Students' Papers, 13th Wave Index Page



The Impressionist Movement and Bohemians in 19th Century Paris


Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Nam, Woo chan
Research Paper, Fall 2010



Table of Contents


I. Introduction
II. Paul Cezanne
II.1 General Biography on Cezanne's 10's and 20's according to Wikipedia and Thames & Hudson Biography.
II.2 "His Masterpiece"
II.3 The Life of Emile Zola (1937) directed by William Dieterle
II.4 Online Smithsonian Magazine on Cezanne, January 2006
III. How the word 'Bohemian' came to popular use.
IV. Different Sources and their Application of the Term 'Bohemians' in Regard to Impressionist Painters
IV.1 English Wikipedia on 'Bohemianism'
IV.2 French Wikipedia on 'Boheme,' Translation to English by Google.
IV.3 Mount Holyoke College history course website on 19th century Paris 'Bohemianism and Counter-culture'
IV.4 Bohemian Paris: Cultures, Politics, and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Life, 1830-1930.
IV.5 Analysis on How Four Sources Identify Bohemians and Their Relation to Artistic Movement
IV.5.1 Time Period
IV.5.2 Relation to Artistic Movement
V. (The) Thames and Hudson Encyclopaedia of Impressionism entry on 'Social Background'
VI. Letters and Notes Written by Artists to Fellow Artists, Friends, Family Members, Critics etc.
VI.1 Claude Monet
VI.2 Pierre-Auguste Renoir
VI.3 Camille Pissarro
VI.4 Frederic Bazille
VI.5 Paul Cezanne
VI.6 Analysis on the Artists' and the Impressionist Society's Financial Status
VII. Conclusion
Notes
Bbliography



I. Introduction

I.1 Definition
            The Impressionist movement, famous for its perspective on art to draw the instantaneous 'impression' of a subject of the painting, finds its place from the 1860's to 80's in Paris. Led by painters such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cezanne, Edouard Manet, the movement, first criticized by the public and rejected by official salons, eventually got acknowledged for the originality and beauty the paintings possessed.
            The Impressionist painters, along with other arts movements of the time, are associated with the Bohemians, due to the fact that both groups of people pursued art as their goal and went against the mainstream society. This can be revealed from how public media or fictional art works viewed artists of the time. However, some sources on Impressionists refuse to regard them as Bohemians, for their financial status, artistic goal etc.
            The paper seeks to search into this dispute, whether Impressionist painters qualify to be regarded as Bohemians. Numerous sources show different perspective on the definition or characteristics of what Bohemians are. Lives of Impressionists also vary, from individual to individual, as revealed from their private correspondences.

            Paul Cezanne is one of main Impressionist painters of the time. Film, novel, magazine article etc touch upon Paul Cezanne's existence as a Bohemian. However, non-fiction biographies see Cezanne as a bourgeois with no financial problem.

II. Paul Cezanne

II.1 General Biography on Cezanne's 10's and 20's according to Wikipedia and Thames & Hudson biography
            Paul Cezanne was born in Aix-en-Provence, 16 January 1839. Aix-en-Provence, a beautiful countryside town with rivers and mountains later much influences Cezanne's subject, style and perspective on painting. Here, he meets Emile Zola and Baptistin Baille, three who would later be called 'les trois inseparables.' Emile Zola persuades Paul Cezanne to come to Paris in their late 10's, and form a long-lasting friendship. Correspondences between these two often become important source to the lives and thoughts of two artists.
            Louis-Auguste Cezanne, Paul's father, was a founder of the first bank in Aix-en-Provence. From this occupation, he made fortune that would financially support Cezanne's career.
            Cezanne is lucky and does not experience the extreme poverty and lack of money suffered by other artists. He was able to live thanks to the allowance that his father paid him and that his mother no doubt discreetly supplemented. (1)
            Cezanne later received an inheritance of 400,000 Francs (218,363.62 Pound Sterling) from his father, which rid him of all financial worries. (2)
            Unlike a general impression of a Bohemian, of which poverty is great necessity, Cezanne does not seem to have any problem with money. However, other sources have different view on Paul Cezanne's financial status during his stay in Paris.

II.2 "His Masterpiece"

                His Masterpiece is the 14th novel of Emile Zola's Les Rougon-Macquart. Claude Lantier, main protagonist of the novel, is known to be based on the character of Paul Cezanne, Emile Zola's closest friend. Eduoard Manet and Claude Monet are other possible sources, but Paul Cezanne seems to be the main source, as he was Emile Zola's closest friend.
            In the beginning of the novel, description of Claude Lantier¡¯s household is as follows :

            "Nevertheless, the studio continued to frighten her a little. She cast sidelong glances around it, astonished at so much disorder and carelessness. Before the stove the cinders of the previous winter still lay in a heap. Besides the bed, the small washstand, and the couch, there was no other furniture than an old dilapidated oaken wardrobe and a large deal table, littered with brushes, colours, dirty plates, and a spirit lamp, atop of which was a saucepan, with shreds of vermicelli sticking to its sides. Some rush-bottomed chairs, their seats the worse for wear, were scattered about beside spavined easels. Near the couch the candlestick used on the previous night stood on the floor, which looked as if it had not been swept for fully a month. There was only the cuckoo clock, a huge one, with a dial illuminated with crimson flowers, that looked clean and bright, ticking sonorously all the while. But what especially frightened her were some sketches in oils that hung frameless from the walls, a serried array of sketches reaching to the floor, where they mingled with heaps of canvases thrown about anyhow. She had never seen such terrible painting, so coarse, so glaring, showing a violence of colour, that jarred upon her nerves like a carter's oath heard on the doorstep of an inn. She cast her eyes down for a moment, and then became attracted by a picture, the back of which was turned to her. It was the large canvas at which the painter was working, and which he pushed against the wall every night, the better to judge it on the morrow in the surprise of the first glance. What could it be, that one, she wondered, since he dared not even show it ? And, meantime, through the vast room, a sheet of burning sunlight, falling straight from the window panes, unchecked by any blind, spread with the flow of molten gold over all the broken-down furniture, whose devil-may-care shabbiness it threw into bold relief." (3)

            Descriptions such as 'Before the stove the cinders of previous winter still lay in a heap,' 'Besides the bed, the small washstand, and the couch, there was no other furniture than an old dilapidated oaken wardrobe and a large deal table, littered with brushes, colours, dirty plates, and a spirit lamp, atop of which was a saucepan, with shreds of vermicelli sticking to its sides' show that Claude Lantier¡¯s financial status was inferior, that of a poor artist, typical Bohemian.
            It can be inferred that Cezanne, model of fictional Claude Lantier, lived in a similar financial status.

II.3 The Life of Emile Zola (1937) by William Dieterle
            'The Life of Emile Zola' is a film directed by William Dieterle, starring Paul Muni, released in 1937. The synopsis is about Emile Zola's life and Dreyfus affair. Mostly based on a true story, the film has fictional elements as well.
            In the very beginning of the film appears Emile Zola and Paul Cezanne¡¯s room. The windows are all shattered and the ragged clothes are used to block those windows. Zola and Cezanne rip notebook papers to make fire on the furnace. There are no decorations on the room except sketches put on the wall. Cezanne and Zola are poverty-stricken during their stay in Paris in early 20's.

II.4 Online Smithsonian Magazine on Cezanne, January 2006.
            In the Smithsonian Online Magazine article on Cezanne, Cezanne is described as follows :

            "In the fall of 1894, the American painter Mary Cassatt attended a dinner in the countryside outside Paris with a group of artists, among them the notoriously Bohemian Paul Cezanne. 'His manners at first startled me,' she wrote to a friend ..." (4)

            The writer of the article, Paul Tratchma, recognizes Cezanne as a Bohemian figure of the time.

            Five sources differ from how they view either Cezanne's validity as a Bohemian or Cezanne's financial status. Nonfiction biographies view Cezanne to be financially stable while fictional literature work, film or a brief descriptions by a modern magazine sees Cezanne as a typical Bohemian of the time.
            As seen in Cezanne's case, how people perceive a Bohemian varies. More thorough analysis is necessary on the definition and characteristics of Bohemians and how the term came into use.

III How the word 'Bohemian' came to popular use
            The term 'Bohemian' originally refers to a resident of the Kingdom of Bohemia, today part of the Czech Republic. The French word 'bohemien' means a Gypsy or Romani person, the Romani are an ethnic group living, among others, in the Czech Republic. (5).
            According to Wikipedia article, Bohemians (the artists) began to be associated with the term bohemien since poor, artistic youth usually inhabited in lower-class gypsy neighborhoods in Paris. The term was mainly popularized after Henri Murger's novel 'Scenes de la vie Boheme' was adapted to a musical play in 1849.
            'Scenes de la vie Boheme' is originally a collection of short stories that Henri Murger submitted to a local magazine Le Corsaire. The story is semi-autobiographical, based on his life with his Bohemian friends, so-called the Water Drinkers of the Latin Quarter. The main characters, Rudolphe, Mimi, Schaunard and Marcel, each reflect Murger's friends, Rudolphe being Murger himself.
            The story was not popular when published in Le Corsaire. Its main popularity came when it was turned into a play, a collaboration of Henri Murger and Theodore Barriere. Then, in 1851, the stories, collected, furnished and with a preface, became a novel.
            Puccini's Opera La Boheme and Broadway Musical Rent base their synopses on Henri Murger's novel. Success and fame of these two pieces and their continuing popularity, especially that of La Boheme, seem to have contributed to the wide spread of the word 'Bohemian.'

            Four sources, the English and French language Wikipedia articles, a college history course website, and a professional research book, were used to compare and contrast the definition of Bohemians and description on relationship between Bohemianism and Impressionism.

IV. Different Sources and their Application of the Term 'Bohemians' in Regard to Impressionist Painters.

IV.1 English Wikipedia on 'Bohemianism'
            "This use of the word Bohemian first appeared in the English language in the 19th century to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers, journalists, musicians, and actors in major European cities. Bohemians were associated with unorthodox or anti-establishment political or social viewpoints, which were often expressed through free love, frugality, and/or voluntary poverty.
            The term Bohemianism emerged in France in the early 19th century when artists and creators began to concentrate in the lower-rent, lower class gypsy neighborhoods. Bohemien was a common term for the Romani people of France, who had reached Western Europe via (by way of) Bohemia.
(6)
            English Wikipedia article on 'Bohemianism' only mention early 19th century as the period Bohemianism began to emerge. No specific time period is designated on when the movement started and faded. However, poverty, non-traditional lifestyle and art are categorized as main characteristics of Bohemianism.

IV.2 French Wikipedia on 'Boheme,' Translation to English by Google.
            Summarized excerpts as follows : "Bohemian life generally refers to a way of living day to day in poverty but also in the recklessness. It means a literary and artistic movement of the nineteenth century, alongside the Romantic movement more "aristocratic". It refers to both a lifestyle that rejects the bourgeois domination and rationality in the context of industrial society, and the search for an artistic ideal ...
            ... The appearance of the word Bohemian was in 1659 in Tallemant des Reaux , whose accent (e grave) differentiates them from the inhabitants of Bohemia. He was describing a character living on the margins of society and cultivating a new form of freedom of thought and a concern eccentric dress already announcing a sort of proto-punk-dandy of the Renaissance.
            In 1848, the now forgotten novel of Henry Murger , Scenes of Bohemian life (1847-1849) who ushered the word in everyday language. Radiating from the Latin Quarter and particularly attics of Cans Street, Bohemia, by doing one with the artistic world, was finally forge the legend of Rimbaud , Verlaine or Modigliani ...
            Sometimes idealized for their freedom, sometimes criticized for its eccentricity, the Bohemian life finds its source in Paris under the influence of an artistic movement growing ... At a time when cultural expression and art acquainted a climax, the poorest, the poorest took refuge in a life where everything was pushed to the extreme: Bohemia. A kind of philosophy or thinking. This movement has been around the late seventeenth century, but in the early twentieth finds himself at its zenith.
(7)

IV.3 Mount Holyoke College History Course Website on 19th Century Paris 'Bohemianism and Counter-culture'
            ""In his survey Le Boheme, in 1868, Gabriel Guillemot had pointed out that the word 'Bohemian' had dated. Bohemian, as he explained, was a word in the current vocabulary of 1840: it had meant the artist or student, gay and carefree, idle and boisterous, the characters whom Murger had painted in bright, attractive colours. But that Bohemia, wrote Guillemot, 'which one might call the Bohemia of legend, is well and truly dead'" (from bohemiabooks.com, whose info was taken from Joanna Richardson's The Bohemians). (8)
            "Bohemia as a whole in Paris ended in 1914, with the onset of World War I. Such a carefree lifestyle was intolerable with France being thrown into a flurry of war campaigns. (9)
            Listings of Bohemian artists from the website include : Hugo, Murger, Baudelaire, Borel, Courbet, Millet, Thackeray but none of the impressionist artists.

IV.4 Bohemian Paris : Cultures, Politics, and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Life, 1830-1930.
            "The avant-garde and Bohemia were not the same, and should not be confused. The separation between genuine art and Bohemia, insisted on by Baudelaire, Flaubert, and Goncourt brothers, and even Rimbaud, would have been reaffirmed by many later modernists. As vanguard movements developed, however, they took over themes and activities that were rooted in Bohemia, identifying art as much with the life of the artist as with the production of special objects, and transforming artistic practice in ways that made the dramatization of a personal relationship to society ever more central to it. By the 1920s, many Bohemian features had been absorbed into the avant-garde.
            Impressionism was in many respects the first example of an avant-garde movement in art.
            The aesthetic goals of the Impressionists had little to do with specifically Bohemian themes or practices; nonetheless, there were occasional congruences, among them the shared association with Parisian cafe life."
(10)
            "The one member of the group usually ready to dispute his leadership was Edgar Degas, like Manet an educated and articulated upper bourgeois." (11)
            "Zola first defended the new painting against the association with Bohemia other claimed to perceive in it; later, he insisted on that link himself. His ties to Impressionism were both personal and professional." (12)
            "Manet himself was a wholly reassuring figure, a refined, polite, distinguished man, a lover of elegance, a hard worker and a person whose homelife embodied 'the calm joys of the modern bourgeoisie.' His pictures had the same qualities of solidity and elegance." (13)
            "Zola found it necessary to insist on this, because Manet's opponents were presenting him in other ways. Contemporary cartoonists and satirists, Zola complained, had 'turned Edouard Manet into a sort of Bohemian, a child of the streets, a ridiculous boogeyman.'" (14)
            "Association with the Realists and Murger, Baudelaire etc, the notable Bohemians, also contributed to impression of Manet as a Bohemian" (15).

IV.5 Analysis on How Four Sources Identify Bohemians and Their Relation to Artistic Movement

IV.5.1 Time Period

English Wikipedia
            "This use of the word bohemian first appeared in the English language in the 19th century to ..."
            "The term Bohemianism emerged in France in the early 19th century when ..."
            The article designated 19th century as the timeline when the term 'Bohemian' or 'Bohemianism' started to popularize in French and English Language. However, it does not mention when actually Bohemians, real figures, actively engaged in the culture.

French Wikipedia
            "It means a literary and artistic movement of the nineteenth century"
            "... The appearance of the word Bohemian was in 1659 in Tallemant des Reaux , whose accent (e grave) differs with the inhabitant of Bohemia He was describing a character living on the margins of society and cultivating a new form of freedom of thought and a concern eccentric dress already announcing a sort of proto-punk-dandy of the Renaissance."
            "... This movement has been around the late seventeenth century, but in the early twentieth finds himself at its zenith"
            " ... In 1848, the now forgotten novel of Henry Murger , Scenes of Bohemian life (1847-1849) who ushered the word in everyday language ..."
            According to the French Wikipedia, as a cultural movement, Bohemianism took place in 19th century. However, the term Bohemian, that refers to poor, artistic youth living against the mainstream society, appeared in mid-17th century. Henri Murger's novel put the word to everyday usage in French in mid 19th century. Bohemianism reaches its climax in early 20th century.

Mount Holyoke College Website
            "In his survey Le Boheme, in 1868, Gabriel Guillemot had pointed out that word 'Bohemian' had dated. Bohemian, as he explained, was a word in the current vocabulary of 1840: it had meant the artist or student, gay and carefree, idle and boisterous, the characters whom Murger had painted in bright, attractive colours."
            "... Bohemia as a whole in Paris ended in 1914, with the onset of World War I. ..."
            The time period of Bohemianism is early 19th century to early 20th century. However, the climax of the movement is in 1840¡¯s, not early 20th century. The movement declined in early 20th century.

Bohemian Paris: Cultures, Politics, and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Life, 1830-1930.
            The book recounts that Bohemianism began in early 19th century and declined in the early 20th century.

IV.5.2 Relation to Artistic Movement

English Wikipedia
            " ... to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writes, journalists, musicians, and actors in major European cities."
            " ... early 19th century when artists and creators began to concentrate in the lower-rent, lower class ..."
            The article indicates that Bohemians were 'artists, writers, journalists, actors, creators etc.' all of whom are related to art.

French Wikipedia
            "It means a literary and artistic movement of the nineteenth century ..."
            "The bohemian life finds its source in Paris under the artistic movement growing ..."
            The article directly writes that Bohemianism was an artistic movement and actually had its source based on the artistic movement. However no specific art movement is implied.

Mount Holyoke Website
            The website has entries of several artists that represent Bohemian life: Hugo, Murger, Baudelaire, Borel, Courbet, Millet, Thackeray.
            All these artists were born between 1800 and 1825. By 1870, some of them were dead. Considering that Bohemianism was a youth movement, it can be inferred that these artists were actively involved in Bohemian life in 1840-1860. In addition, the artists listed are considered to be involved in either Romantic or Realist movement. No Impressionist artists are mentioned in the website.

Bohemian Paris : Cultures, Politics, and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Life, 1830-1930.
            "¡®The avant-garde and Bohemia were not the same and should not be confused. The separation between genuine art and Bohemia, insisted on by Baudelaire, Flaubert, and Goncourt brothers, and even Rimbaud, would have been reaffirmed by many later modernists. As vanguard movement, developed, however, they took over themes and activities that were rooted in Bohemia ... By the 1920s, many Bohemian features had been absorbed into the avant-garde ..."
            "Impressionism was in many respects the first example of an avant-garde movement in art."
            "The aesthetic goals of the Impressionists had little to do with specifically Bohemian themes or practices; nonetheless there were occasional congruences, among them the shared association with Parisian cafe life."

            Jerrold Seigel, author of the book, does not identify Impressionism to be part of Bohemianism. Nevertheless, he admits that Impressionism and other avant-garde art movement share some characteristics with Bohemianism, such as cafe life. However, painters such as Manet were perceived by public as a Bohemian. His association with the Realists and Murger, Baudelaire and other notable Bohemians contributed to such impression.

V. (The) Thames and Hudson Encyclopaedia of Impressionism entry on 'Social Background'
            The following is an excerpt of the entry 'Social Background' by (The) Thames and Hudson Encyclopaedia of Impressionism.

            "The advent of the Third Republic after 1870, however, was characterized by the emergence of a powerful 'middle' as opposed to a 'grand' bourgeoisie, and its members became the most characteristic representatives of the period. It was from their ranks that most of the Impressionists were drawn, and Impressionism was very largely concerned with their life and its background." (16)

            The entry further lists family background of each artist that has bourgeoisie origin.

            " ... SISLEY¡¯s father was a rich English businessman; CASSATT¡¯s was a wealthy railway magnate, BAZILLE¡¯s a prosperous vineyard owner. ... PISSARRO came from a wealthy West Indies family, which eventually settled in Paris ..." (17)

            The article considers Impressionist movement to have originated from bourgeoisie background. For some painters, this may be true, but for some, not. However, the bourgeoisie family background do not guarantee the painter themselves' social status. Gustave Courbet, the Realist painter, came from a prosperous farming family (18) but is identified as one of main Bohemian figures. Financial status in artists' 20's and 30's is more legitimate to determine their social status.
            Following correspondences written by artist themselves, during 1860-1880, reveal each artists' financial difficulties, especially that of Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

VI. Letters and Notes Written by Artists to Fellow Artists, Friends, Family Members, Critics etc.
            The following correspondence and notes are excerpts from (The)impressionists by themselves : a selection of their paintings, drawings, and sketches with extracts from their writings and Impressionism and post-impressionism, 1874-1904 : sources and documents.
VI.1 Claude Monet

To Frederic Bazille. July 15, 1864 from Honfleur
            "... It would be better to be alone, and yet, all alone, there are things you can't figure out; well it¡¯s all terrible and it's a tough business. Have you done your life size figure ? I am thinking up terrific things for myself when I go to Sainte-Adresse and Paris in the winter." (19)
To Frederic Bazille. 14 October 1864 from Ste Adresse
            "... Then I'm going to turn out a few pictures to send wherever possible, given that now, first and foremost (unfortunately) I have to earn some money." (20)
To Frederic Bazille, June 29, 1868.
            "... I was just thrown out of the inn, naked as the day I was born. I found a place to shelter Camille and my poor little Jean in the country fro few days. I am leaving for Le Havre tonight to get something out of my art lover. My family no longer wants to do anything for us. I still don't know where I am going to sleep tomorrow. Your very disturbed friend." (21)
To Frederic Bazille. Auguts 9, 1869. from Saint-Michel
            "... Dear friend, do you want to know in what situation I am, and how I live, during the week I have waited for your letter ?, well ask Renoir who brings us bread from his mother's house so that we don't die of hunger. For a week, no bread, no wine, no fire for cooking, no light. It's terrible ..." (22)
To Frederic Bazille, September 25, 1869, from Saint-Michel
            "... for I¡¯m still in a hopeless state. I have sold a still life and I¡¯ve been able to work a little. But, as usual, here I am brought up short because of no paints. ... You tell me it¡¯s neither fifty francs nor 100 that will get me out of this situation. ... if all those who spoke to me as you did had sent me fifty or forty francs, etc., certainly, I wouldn¡¯t be in this spot. ... The winter is coming, not a very pleasant season for the unfortunate. Then comes the Salon. ..." (23)
To Edouard Manet, Monday morning, June 28, 1875. from Argenteuil
            "... It's getting more and more difficult. Not a penny left since the day before yesterday and no more credit at the butcher's or the baker's. Even though I believe in the future, you can see that the present is very hard indeed. ..." (24)
To Georges de Bellio. Vetheuil, 17 August 1879.
            "... One has to be at her bedside continually attending to her smallest wish, in the hope of relieving her suffering, and the saddest thing is that we cannot always satisfy these immediate needs for lack of money. For a month now I have not been able to paint because I lack the colours; but that is not important. ... Two or three hundred francs now would save us from hardship and anxiety : with a hundred francs more I could procure the canvas and paints I need to work. ..." (25)
Interview with Monet done by a Parisian newspaper, Le Temps in 1900.
            "... But my youth was passed at Le Havre, where my father had settled in 1845 to follow his interests more closely, and this youth was essentially that of a vagabond." (26)

VI.2 Pierre-Auguste Renoir

To Frederic Bazille. late August 1869. from Ville d¡¯Avray,
            "... I¡¯ll write you more some other time, because I'm hungry and I have a plate of turbot with white sauce in front of me. I'm not putting a stamp on the letter, I have only twelve sous in my pocket, and that¡¯s for going to Paris when I need to." (27)
To Frederic Bazille. Paris, late August or early September, 1869
            "... I'm almost doing nothing because I don¡¯t have many colours. Things may go better this month. If they go better, I'll write to you ..." (28)
VI.3 Camille Pissarro

To Theodore Duret. Pontoise, 1 October 1875.
            "I am extremely short of money, as always at this time of year, and would be very grateful if you could send me what you owe me - it's all I have to live on until the customers get back to Paris and I can sell a picture.
            I have a bill that falls due on the 10th of the month and there¡¯s my rent and I don¡¯t have a sou !"
(29)
To Theodore Duret. Pontoise, 21 October 1875.
            "I got your letter containing the 100-frac note, on account of the 250 still due to me - many thanks, I needed the money very badly and still need a great deal more. I hope to manage by selling two or three pictures." (30)
To Eugene Murer [collector]. July 1878. from Paris.
            "I am in the greatest need of money ... What hard time these are ! I don't know where to put my head." (31)
To Eugene Murer 27 May 1879
            "... Renoir has got a big success at the Salon, I believe he is launched. So much the better. Poverty is so hard ..." (32)
To Lucien, his son, May 8, 1887, Paris
            "I went to Asnieres with Signac, still exhausted from the hanging. ... I had all I could stand from that confounded exhibition which smells to heaven of bourgeois values." (33)

VI.4 Frederic Bazille

To his mother. Paris, Wednesday, 1866
            "... Along with Renoir, I am giving shelter to two needy painters. My apartment is a regular infirmary and I'm delighted." (34)
To his parents. Paris, 1867
            "... I don¡¯t think I¡¯ve told you I¡¯m giving hospitality to one of my friends, a former pupil of Gleyre's, who has no studio at the moment. Renoir is his name and he's a hard worker. ..." (35)
To his parents. 1867
            "... We bled ourselves white but all we managed to raise was 2,500 Frs and this was not enough. We've therefore had to give up the idea. We've no choice but to return to the bosom of the Establishement ... which rejects us ..." (36)

VI.5 Paul Cezanne

To Emile Zola, August 1877. from Paris
            "... it seems that a profound depression reigns in the Impressionist camp. Streams of gold are not exactly flowing into their pocket, and people's work goes into decline ..." (37)

VI.6 Analysis on the Artists and the Impressionist Society's Financial Status
            Frederic Bazille was from a wealthy family in Montpellier. He was able to aid and give room for other needy painters. Written in his letter to mother in 1866, the other two along with Renoir, are Monet and Sisley.
            Claude Monet suffers the most from poverty. In his student years, 1860's, he asks constant help to Bazille for money. Occasionally, Monet would not have money for colors or food. Even after his marriage, with a son, he is unable to find a place to stay. He cannot bear the expenses for his wife's illness, as written in his letter to Georges de Bellio in 1879.
            As he lived in Bazille's apartment, Renoir also receives financial aid from Bazille.
            Camille Pissarro asks for money to Theodore Duret, art critic and Eugene Murer, art collector. This is until 1879, his late 40's.
            Bazille writes in his letter to his parents, in 1867, that the society has insufficient money to open an independent exhibition. In 1877, as written in Paul Cezanne's letter to Emile Zola, the whole Impressionist society lacks money.
            Shortage of fund can be observed when the artists formed 'Societe anonyme des artistes, peintres, sculpteurs et graveurs.' The organization is constituted by Impressionist and other artists that wanted to work outside the system of official Salon. They held their first exhibition in 1874, but the group ended in liabilities of 3,713 Francs while the holding was only 278 Francs after the first exhibition (38).

VII. Conclusion
            Relationship between Bohemianism and Impressionist movement is not clear, as number of sources do not agree upon the definition of Bohemianism and lives of Impressionists.
            The dispute was observed particularly by how literary works, films and biographies viewed Cezanne's identity as a Bohemian. While novel, film or modern magazine article considered Cezanne as a Bohemian, biographies record that Cezanne had no financial problem, due to allowance give by his father.
            To see how Bohemianism was characterized, four sources, English Wikipedia article on 'Bohemianism,' French Wikipedia article on 'Boheme,' Mount Holyoke College Website on Bohemianism and Bohemian Paris: Cultures, Politics, and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Life, 1830-1930 were analyzed. All 4 sources except English Wikipedia accepted 19th century to early 20th century as the time period Bohemianism took place. French Wikipedia particularly noted that the term emerged in 17th century, while no other sources did.
            Regarding the relationship between Impressionism and Bohemianism, both Wikipedia articles remain vague, using terms such as 'artistic movement' or 'artists.' Mount Holyoke College website does not mention Impressionist artists, but Romantic, Realist artist as examples of Bohemian artists. Bohemian Paris: Cultures, Politics, and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Life, 1830-1930 does not identify Impressionism as part of Bohemianism. In addition, (The) Thames and Hudson Encyclopaedia of Impressionism entry on 'Social Background,' claims that the movement was much influenced by artists¡¯ bourgeoisie origin.
            However, letters written by artists themselves reveal that financial status is different from artists to artists. Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Camille Pissarro had difficulties with money but Frederic Bazille was rich enough to assist fellow artists.
            Therefore, considering that each Impressionist artist lived under different financial capability, artistic perspective and family background, whether Impressionist artists are qualified as Bohemians should not be observed in a macroscopic scale, as did in some of the sources.

Notes

1.      Hoog 1994, p.23
2.      Wikipedia Article : Paul Cezanne
3.      Zola 1886
4.      Trachtma
5.      Wikipedia Article : Bohemianism
6.      ibid.
7.      Article : Boheme. from Wikipedia French edition
8.      Generations of Bohemia
9.      ibid.
10.      Seigel 1999, p.296
11.      ibid.
12.      ibid. p.299
13.      ibid.
14.      ibid.
15.      ibid. p.302
16.      Denvir 1990, pp.204-205
17.      ibid. p.205
18.      Wikipedia Article : Gustave Courbet
19.      Nochlin 1996, p.31
20.      Howard 1991
21.      Nochlin 1996, pp.31-32
22.      Howard 1991
23.      Nochlin 1996, p.33
24.      Howard 1991
25.      ibid.
26.      ibid.
27.      ibid.
28.      ibid.
29.      ibid.
30.      ibid.
31.      ibid.
32.      ibid.
33.      ibid.
34.      ibid.
35.      ibid.
36.      ibid.
37.      ibid.
38.      ibid.

References

Note : websites quoted below were visited in December 2010.
1.      Hoog, Michael. Cezanne: The First Modern Painter (New Horizons). Rosemary Stonehewere, Thames & Hudson 1994
2.      Seigel, Jerrold. Bohemian Paris: Culture, Politics, and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Life, 1830-1930. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999
3.      Zola, Emile; translation. Vizetelly, Ernest Alfred; His Masterpiece (1886) - available on Project Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15900/15900-h/15900-h.htm
4.      Howard, Michael. (The)impressionists by themselves : a selection of their paintings, drawings, and sketches with extracts from their writings, Conran Octups, 1991
5.      Nochlin, Linda. Impressionism and post-impressionism, 1874-1904 : sources and documents, Prentice-Hall, 1996
6.      Denvir, Bernard. (The)Thames and Hudson encyclopaedia of impressionism, by Bernard Denvir, London:Thames and Hudson, 1990
7.      Wikipedia Article : Bohemianism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohemianism
8.      Article : Boheme. from Wikipedia French edition, Translation by Google http://translate.google.co.kr/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Ffr.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FBoh%25C3%25A8me&sl=fr&tl=en&hl=&ie=UTF-8
9.      Wikipedia Article : Paul Cezanne http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Cezanne
10.      Wikipedia Article : Gustave Courbet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courbet
11.      Generations of Parisian Bohemia, from website of Robert Schwartz, MtHolyoke http://www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/rschwart/hist255-s01/boheme/generations.html
12.      Paul Trachtma, Cezanne, The Man Who Changed the Landscape of Art, Smithsonian Magazine http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Cezanne06.html




Back to WHKMLA Main Index . WHKMLA, Students' Papers Main Page . WHKMLA, Students' Papers, 12th Wave Index Page