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"Sunday Morning" archives: Impressionism at 150

On April 15, 1874 – 150 years ago – the first Impressionist exhibition opened on Rue du Capucines in Paris, featuring works by 30 artists, including Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Hosted by the "Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers, etc.," it was founded in response to the Paris Salon, the annual, government-sponsored exhibition that would frequently reject the works of the rising artists.

The show, which ran for about a month (overlapping the start of the 1874 Salon), was a financial failure for the artists. Only 3,500 patrons attended. The response was hostile; critics coined the term "Impressionist" as a derogatory term, inspired by Monet's "Impression, Sunrise."

History has proved those critics wrong. From the "Sunday Morning" archives, watch these fascinating portraits of the innovative painters who created a new language of art.

"Sunday Morning" archives: Impressionism at 150 by CBS Sunday Morning on YouTube

The video features:

Édouard Manet, whose seaside vacation turned the tide of modern art, promoting the birth of Impressionism. Martha Teichner reports on the exhibition "Manet and the Sea" (April 25, 2004); 

Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, whose images and dramatic life story have thrilled millions. Rita Braver reports on a National Gallery exhibition, and travels to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and to the south of France (Oct. 4, 1998); 

Jacqueline Adams visits an Art Institute of Chicago retrospective of the vast 60-year career of Claude Monet (Aug. 27, 1995);

Camille Pissarro, one of the founders of the Impressionist school, who turned his brush to capture the commonplace. Anthony Mason reports (June 11, 1995);

A retrospective of works by Edgar Degas inaugurated the newly-remodeled National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, as reported by Charles Osgood (Oct. 9, 1988);

As an American and a woman, Mary Cassatt was a rarity among the French impressionist masters. Jacqueline Adams took in an exhibition of her work at the Art Institute of Chicago (Nov. 22, 1998);

Paul Cézanne (whom Picasso called "the father of us all") was the subject of "Cézanne in Provence," a sun-bleached collection of 117 paintings and watercolors at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Morley Safer paid a visit (April 23, 2006);

Pointillism was the technique of Georges Seurat. Charles Osgood reported on a Metropolitan Museum of Art retrospective of 185 works that charted Seurat's meteoric, and extremely brief, career (Sept. 29, 1991);

Gustave Caillebotte was a wealthy French lawyer who embraced the radical new Impressionist movement, as a collector and an artist himself. His paintings, hidden away for a century, were the subject of an exhibit attended by Jacqueline Adams (April 23, 1995);

In the sweltering summer of 1999, Charles Osgood took in a Brooklyn Museum of Art exhibition of cool art titled "Impressionists In Winter: Effets de Neige" (Aug. 1, 1999);

The late works of Pierre-Auguste Renoir were displayed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as Martha Teichner reports (Aug 8, 2010);

At the Art Institute of Chicago, an exhibition of late-period Degas works – radical charcoals, pastels and sculptures which the artist produced in the last 30 years of his life — shattered our preconceived notions of the artist who helped define Impressionism. Jacqueline Adams reports (Oct. 27, 1996); and

Childe Hassam, who was deemed the leading American impressionist of the era, was the subject of a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of art, as reported by Charles Osgood (July 4, 2004);

Also, director Julian Schnabel and actor Willem Dafoe talked with Serena Altschul about reimagining Vincent Van Gogh's life in the film "At Eternity's Gate" (Jan. 6, 2019).


There are numerous exhibitions honoring the anniversary of Impressionism.

The Musée d'Orsay in Paris hosts "Paris 1874: Inventing impressionism" (though July 14). The show, featuring 130 works, will then travel to the National Gallery of Art in Washington (September 8, 2024 through January 19, 2025).

Other shows include:

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