Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Cezanne, Renoir, Degas, Renoir, Sisley, Berthe Moriost and Mary Cassatt. Their contemporaries branded them as lunatics, but today this is a roll-call of great artists, whose paintings evoke a unique atmosphere of harmony- languid landscapes flooded with light, shop-workers dancing on their day off, bars and gas-lit streets, the sunlit beach at Trouville. We all know these dazzling pictures but how well do we know the Impressionists as people?This book tells their story. Sue Roe shows how the early leaders of the group first met in the Paris studios and lived and worked closely together for nearly twenty years. Painting outdoors, meeting in cafes, they supported each other and shared emotional and financial difficulties. Defying the hide-bound rules of the salon, they staged joint exhibitions and rebelled against artistic prejudice, moral tyranny and social hierarchy. Often rejected by their horrified parents, they led volatile and precarious lives- their wives were servants, models, flower-sellers and, although their paintings today sell for millions, they were barely able to support their families. This intimate, colourful, superbly researched account
Sue Roe is a freelance writer and teacher. A former Lecturer at the University of East Anglia, she is the author of a novel, Estella, Her Expectation, a collection of poems, The Spitfire Factory, and Writing and Gender- Virginia Woolf's Writing Practice. She is also co-editor of the Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf, and her most recent book is the widely praised Gwen John- A Life. She lives in Brighton.