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Ignored by the establishment, a group of renegade painters set up their own independent exhibition in the spare room of a photographer’s studio. In Paris in 1874 the city was busy recovering from the bloodshed of the Franco-Prussian war and the proletarian revolution known as the Paris Commune. Bourgeois stoicism was back in fashion and the paintings of Claude Monet were not to one art critic’s taste. Louis Leroy, upon passing the artist’s small-scale canvas titled “Sunrise Impression” stated scathingly: “A preliminary drawing for a wallpaper pattern is more highly finished than this seascape... It is no more than an impression.” Quickly hijacking the phrase intended to satirize their works, the loose group of independent artists began referring to themselves as the ‘Impressionists’. History proved Leroy wrong, and the work of the Impressionists how reigns as the most beloved and agreeable in the history of painting. That the origins of the movement caused so much controversy is often rather hard to fathom, but it is important to remember that the stunning ingenuity of Monet’s idiosyncratic style effectively swept away over a century of rigid Academic conservatism. By painting the effects of light rather than the forms usually depicted, Monet’s “Sunrise Impression” captures the transitory essence of light upon surfaces — the essential ingredients of human vision. By adding a dab here and a dab there as the light changed, the artist depicted the temporal shift of day, creating an art that is both organic and ephemeral. This quiet riot on canvas can be seen as a visual manifesto for the style that would take the Parisian art world by storm.