It was a dappled and daubed harbor scene that gave Impressionism its name. When Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet was exhibited in April 1874, critics seized upon the work’s title and its loose stylistic rendering of light and motion upon water to deride this new, impressionistic tendency in art.
As with many seminal art movements, the critics got their comeuppance. Today, Impressionism is close contender for the world’s favorite period of painting. With blockbuster exhibitions, record-breaking auction prices, and packed museums, the works once dismissed as unfinished or imprecise are now beloved for their atmospheric evocation of time and place, as well as the stylistic flair of rapid brushstrokes upon canvas.