Faces of Impressionism: Portraits from the Musée d’Orsay by George T. M. Shackelford, Guy Cogeval, Xavier Rey, and Isolde Pludermacher

I was privileged to see this exhibition when it came to town this year at the Kimbell Art Museum. One of the things that fascinated me about it was that I knew most of the artists on display, but not these particular pieces. This book was the companion to the exhibition, and I’ve been whittling away at it nearly every evening since I got it.

Much (but not all) of the work here represents the earlier days of Impressionism, so by our modern perspective, some of it seems realistic. Those same works were bombasted in their own time for a lack of professional technique and for, ironically, much of what we appreciate about them today. It’s all about perspective. When you understand the art, you understand the people, and in turn you understand the culture, and then in turn you understand more about yourself and your own world by comparison and contrast. This book helps to provide that perspective. This exhibition brought a new level of perspective and understanding to what I already understood about Impressionism, but you only get so much time with the experience itself. The book helps me to dig deeper into that experience.

5 stars


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