Impressionism: Mexican vs European Impressionist Art

This article showcases the Impressionist art collection of the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City -one of the many art collections it contains-, and brings together, in an unprecedented way, both Mexican and European Impressionist pieces, pertaining to some of the most valued impressionist authors.

Each work of art exhibited in said museum, and in this article, is part of the personal collection that the richest man in the world, businessman and philanthropist Carlos Slim Helu, has compiled throughout his life. He recently donated his artistic treasure to the Carlos Slim Foundation and created the Museo Soumaya (or Soumaya Museum, named after his diseased wife), an avant-garde new building that houses and openly displays his notorious painting and sculpture collections, for everyone to enjoy.

_________________________________________________________________

"Cloud" by Mexican Artist Gerardo Murillo, "Dr. Atl", (c1939), Soumaya Museum, which exhibits the personal collection of the richest man in the world, Mexican businessman and philanthropist Carlos Slim Helu.
"Cloud" by Mexican Artist Gerardo Murillo, "Dr. Atl", (c1939), Soumaya Museum, which exhibits the personal collection of the richest man in the world, Mexican businessman and philanthropist Carlos Slim Helu.

European and Mexican Landscape

Landscape painting is a very important part of impressionist art and it is present in the repertoire of all impressionist artists. In fact, the term Impressionism comes from one of Claude Monet's most famous paintings "Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise)", which is a seascape.

Before Monet, painters made serious detailed pictures of what was famous and important, usually in indoor environments. Monet broke the rules to paint what inspired him; he painted the ordinary in an extraordinary way, capturing light, reflections and nature.

Since Claude Monet, who is considered the father of Impressionism, artists started to work outside, registering light and colors in outdoor landscape paintings, which were naturally linked to the diversity of latitudes, climates and regions of each artist's location. From then on, landscapes have been a source of poetic inspiration for many other artists of varied artistic expressions, including impressionist, neo-impressionist and post-impressionist art.


Impressionism and van Gogh, Man Added to Nature

"After the Storm or Shepherd with a Flock of Sheep" by Post-Impressionist Artist Vincent van Gogh (Sept1884). Sample of European Impressionism. Soumaya Museum, Founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu.
"After the Storm or Shepherd with a Flock of Sheep" by Post-Impressionist Artist Vincent van Gogh (Sept1884). Sample of European Impressionism. Soumaya Museum, Founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu.

Within Impressionism, landscape painting is characterized by scenes that reflect everyday life in dialogue with nature, where man is inserted as a primary element of creation. It also represents philosophical matters like the essence of the individual and the consciousness of the origin, as well as the complex matrix of ancient mythologies and traditions.

In words of the renowned Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh, one of the icons of impressionism who dedicated a vast amount of his work to landscape painting:


I know no better definition of the word art than this: "Art is man added to nature". -Vincent van Gogh

_________________________________________________________________

Landscape Painting & Impressionism

During the nineteenth century, travelers from all over the world came to Mexico, attracted by the abundance and richness of the country. These artists recorded new scenarios according to the romantic sensibility of the time. It was then that landscape painting developed a meticulous study of the details of nature, and a deep interest in the transient manifestations generated by light and atmospheric influences.


…..the landscape is the rhythm of waves that nature extends, perhaps generously, where we saturate the spirit with sublime sensations of beauty and energy.

-Gerardo Murillo, Dr. Atl (1875-194), Mexican painter

_________________________________________________________________


Landscape by Mexican Impressionist Artist Joaquin Clausell

"Landscape with Forest and River" by Joaquín Clausell (first 3rd of the XX century). Sample of Mexican Impressionism. Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Mexican businessman and philanthropist Carlos Slim Helu.
"Landscape with Forest and River" by Joaquín Clausell (first 3rd of the XX century). Sample of Mexican Impressionism. Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Mexican businessman and philanthropist Carlos Slim Helu.

Impressionist Artists

Mexican
European
Gerardo Murillo "Dr. Atl"
Claude Monet
Joaquin Clausell
Alfred Sisley
Francisco Romano Guillemín
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
 
Edgar Degas
 
Camille Pissarro
 
Armand Guillaumin

Mexican and European Impressionism & Landscape Paintings

Click thumbnail to view full-size
"Landscape at the Sea Shore" by Edgar Degas (c1895-1898). European Impressionism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City."Rays of Sunshine between the Mountains or Aerial Landscape" by Mexican painter Gerardo Murillo, Dr. Atl (1950). Museo Soumaya, Mexico City."Landscape" by Mexican painter Gerardo Murillo, Dr. Atl (2d half of the XX century). Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City."Landscape at Port-Villez" by Claude Monet (1883). European Impressionism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City."Seascape" by Joaquin Clausell (1st third of XX). Sample of Mexican Impressionism. Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu."Approaching Storm, Valencia" by Joaquín Sorolla (1899). Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City."Antibes" by Francis Picabia (c1930). European Impressionism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City."Seascape [View of Acapulco from the house of Mrs. Dolores Olmedo Patiño, friend and patron of the painter]" by Mexican painter Diego Rivera (1956). Museo Soumaya, Mexico City."Seascape" by Maurice de Vlaminck (first half of the XX century). European Impressionism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City."The House of Collette in Cagnes" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1912). European Impressionism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"Landscape at the Sea Shore" by Edgar Degas (c1895-1898). European Impressionism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"Landscape at the Seashore" by Edgar Degas (c1895-1898). European Impressionism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"Rays of Sunshine between the Mountains or Aerial Landscape" by Mexican painter Gerardo Murillo, Dr. Atl (1950). Museo Soumaya, Mexico City.
"Rays of Sunshine between the Mountains or Aerial Landscape" by Mexican painter Gerardo Murillo, Dr. Atl (1950). Museo Soumaya, Mexico City.
"Landscape" by Mexican painter Gerardo Murillo, Dr. Atl (2d half of the XX century). Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"Landscape" by Mexican painter Gerardo Murillo, Dr. Atl (2d half of the XX century). Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"Landscape at Port-Villez" by Claude Monet (1883). European Impressionism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"Landscape at Port-Villez" by Claude Monet (1883). European Impressionism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"Seascape" by Joaquin Clausell (1st third of XX). Sample of Mexican Impressionism. Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu.
"Seascape" by Joaquin Clausell (1st third of XX). Sample of Mexican Impressionism. Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu.
"Approaching Storm, Valencia" by Joaquín Sorolla (1899). Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"Approaching Storm, Valencia" by Joaquín Sorolla (1899). Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"Antibes" by Francis Picabia (c1930). European Impressionism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"Antibes" by Francis Picabia (c1930). European Impressionism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"Seascape [View of Acapulco from the house of Mrs. Dolores Olmedo Patiño, friend and patron of the painter]" by Mexican painter Diego Rivera (1956). Museo Soumaya, Mexico City.
"Seascape [View of Acapulco from the house of Mrs. Dolores Olmedo Patiño, friend and patron of the painter]" by Mexican painter Diego Rivera (1956). Museo Soumaya, Mexico City.
"Seascape" by Maurice de Vlaminck (first half of the XX century). European Impressionism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"Seascape" by Maurice de Vlaminck (first half of the XX century). European Impressionism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"The House of Collette in Cagnes" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1912). European Impressionism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"The House of Collette in Cagnes" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1912). European Impressionism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.

Impressionism in Mexico

Impressionism emphasized the luminosity of each scenery or landscape and thus, the art work created in plein air (French expression for "in the open air", particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors) was inserted in the modern landscape genre, in which Impressionism thrived.

Figures throbbing under the light, intense chromatics, free brushwork, elimination of contour drawing and fascination for the ephemeral stimulus of brief moments, would be the guidelines of landscape painting in the last third of the nineteenth century, both in France, where Impressionism was born, but also in Mexico. Impressionism and landscape painting were artistic movements that searched for the coveted idea of "art for art" and brought it closer to the common people.

1905 marked the year of the avant-garde: the enthrallment of a new vision, mirror of a collective soul that was free from all bond to civil slavery; avant-garde artist reflected in their work all the reasons that justified rebellion against culture, canons and conventions.


Light Recording & Outdoor Painting

The light recording in landscape composition that the great European Impressionism accomplished, reached across the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Mexico.

Mexican painters like Joaquín Clausell (a disciple of Claude Monet himself) and Francisco Romano Guillemín, worked with a complete palette of diverse luminous tonalities to depict Mexican landscapes as they moved into vanguard. Their open sceneries, heirs to the outdoors paint-shops, divide themselves into kaleidoscopic illusions where colors and their ranges vibrate in unison with the landscape.


Impressionist Landscapes by Armand Guillaumin

Post-Impressionist Artists

  • Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
  • Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
  • Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)
  • Georges Seurat (1859-1891)
  • Paul Signac (1863-1935)
  • Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
  • Émile Bernard (1868-1941)
  • Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940)
  • Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947)

_________________________________________________________________


Divisionism

"View of Moret-sur-Loing Under the Snow" by Gustave Loiseau (c1900). Sample of Divisionism Technique, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"View of Moret-sur-Loing Under the Snow" by Gustave Loiseau (c1900). Sample of Divisionism Technique, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.

Neo-Impressionist Techniques: Divisionism & Pointillism

Divisionism (founded by Goerges Seurat in 1884) is a technique in which chromatic ranges are obtained through the application of juxtaposed brushstrokes that, viewed from a certain distance, produce a new color in the spectator's eye, which results from the optic mixture of colors. By combining the colors optically instead of physically mixing pigments, divisionists aimed to attain the maximum luminosity scientifically possible.

Seurat, Signac, Luce, van Gogh and Pissarro (among other post-impressionist artists) rehearsed the possibilities of light broken into lines and points, which gave rise to the term "Pointillism", which is defined specifically by the use of small, distinct dots of paint applied in patterns to create an image, and does not necessarily focus on the separation of colors.

Georges Seurat and Paul Signac developed the technique in 1886, branching from Impressionism. The term Pointillism was first used by art critics to ridicule the work of these extraordinary artists; nowadays it is still used, without the denigrating connotations, which have been replaced by an admiring reverence.

The Mexican neo-impressionist artist, Francisco Romano Guillemín, was also a Pointillism enthusiast.


From impressionism, Pointillism is Born

"Under the Pines at Carqueiranne" by Louis Gaidan (end of XIX – beginning of XX). Sample of Pointillism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"Under the Pines at Carqueiranne" by Louis Gaidan (end of XIX – beginning of XX). Sample of Pointillism, Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.

Sample of Les Nabis Art Work

"Reclined Nude" by Henri Lebasque (c1923). Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.
"Reclined Nude" by Henri Lebasque (c1923). Museo Soumaya, founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. Mexico City.

Les Nabis

In the 1890s, a number of painters called "Les Nabis" (Hebrew for prophet) emerged. Among others, Vuillard, Roussel, Denis, Bonnard, Ibels and Paul Ranson were in this group, which viewed the work of art as a subjective expression of the artists themselves, and aimed to show other possibilities of painting.

Les Nabis indicated their distance from Impressionists by emphasizing intense bi-dimensional chromatics and symbolic elements. They did work considered decorative and influenced by art nouveau and Japanese art.

Édouard Vuillard devoted much of his production to the study of bourgeois life; he decorated buildings and his sensitivity inclined towards fabrics and paper tapestries. He said: "I don’t do portraits; I paint people at home to capture the immediate reality that binds the character to his/her environment".

_____________________________

Museo Soumaya, from Impressionism to the Vanguard

Museo Soumaya has an amazing art treasure that, as you have seen documented in this article, includes an impressive number of Impressionist paintings. Nevertheless, the museum also exhibits samples of the different vanguards that branched from Impressionism, an art movement that changed the way people view art and served as the setting stone of what we now know as modern art, inspiring a multitude of subsequent art movements.

A more detailed outline of the Museo Soumaya's history, different art collections and premises can be found in the following articles:


Impressionism Popularity Contest

Which is your favorite Impressionist Artist?

  • Claude Monet
  • Alfred Sisley
  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • Camille Pissarro
  • Armand Guillaumin
  • Edgar Degas
See results without voting

More by this Author


Comments on "Impressionism: Mexican vs European Impressionist Art" 8 comments

Jano 4 years ago

Impressionism is one of my favorite styles, if not my favorite.


irka winniczuk 4 years ago

Very nice enligtening article as it went into different lesser known painting


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi Jano, I know, Impressionism and Post-Impressionist Art are quite exemplary, some of my favorite artists and works of art are also within this movement. I particularly find Signac quite amazing. Thanks for your interest in this article and your comment.


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi Irene, when I was preparing to write this article about Impressionism, I didn´t know some of the art works that are here displayed neither. There is a very abundant repertoire of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, and it is nice to be surprised by new impressionist artists and pieces, don´t you think? Thanks for your input, it is very much appreciated.


Faceless39 profile image

Faceless39 4 years ago from The North Woods, USA

Voted up and away! To be honest, I wasn't aware of the Mexican impressionists, and this hub was thorough and really captivating. Thanks so much for sharing this, and for your hard work and research!


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi Faceless39! How nice that you dropped by. I am so glad you liked this Hub and learned something about Impressionism with it. To tell you the truth, I also didn’t know much about Mexican Impressionist Artists until I visited the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City. Every day we learn something new and this was a nice new topic I wanted to expand on. Thanks for your kind comments and feedback, they are truly appreciated.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

I also was not aware of Mexican impressionists and I thank you for enlightening me with this excellent Hub. Rated up and I'm a fan.


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi suziecat7, I am glad I got to show you the Mexican Impressionist Artists that are part of the Museo Soumaya collection. Thanks for your kind feedback and enthusiasm, they make my day :).

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working