On April 15th, 1874, in the Parisian studio of photographer Nadar, was the opening of the first group exhibition that was uninhibited by government interference and the dictates of an official selection committee. This date has gone down in the annals of art history because it marks the birth of the Impressionism. Impressionistic paintings now rank among the most popular works of art and are the pride of any museum or collection worldwide. However, in 1874 the public response to the exhibition, and to Impressionist painting, was not adoration but rather shock and even outrage. The Impressionists and the succeeding Neo-Impressionists were avant-gardist and revolutionary, paving the way for modern art. Present-day viewers, hardly realizing this revolutionary potential, can be content to enjoy the aesthetic of light and color.
Artists featured in detail include: Frederic Bazille, Marie Braquemond, Gustave Caillebotte, Mary Cassat, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Armand Guillaumin, Max Liebermann, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Guiseppe de Nittis, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Medardo Rosso, Giovanni Segantini, John Singer Sargent, Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Walter Richard Sickert, Alfred Sisley, Max Slevogt, Fritz von Uhde, and Federico Zandomeneghi. Each book in TASCHEN's "Basic Genre" series features: a detailed introduction with approximately 35 photographs, plus a timeline of the most important events (political, cultural, scientific, etc.) that took place during the time period; and a selection of the most important works of the epoch; each is presented on a 2-page spread with a full-page image and, on the facing page, a description/interpretation of the work and brief biography of the artist as well as additional information such as a reference work, portrait of the artist, and/or citations.