Post-Impressionist Art: Blurring the Lines Between the Different Versions of Reality

Roger Fry on the French Post-Impressionist artists: “Another charge that is frequently made against theses artists is that they allow what is merely capricious, or even what is extravagant or eccentric, in their work — that it is not serious, but an attempt to impose on the good-natured tolerance of the public. This charge of insincerity and extravagance is invariably made against any new manifestation of creative art. It does not of course follow that it is always wrong. The desire to impose on the art of the public may, and I think in this case it does, arise from a simple misunderstanding of what these artists set out to do. The difficult springs from a deep-rooted conviction, due to long-established custom, that the aim of painting is the descriptive imitation of natural forms. Now, these artists do not seek to give what can, after all, be but a pale reflex of actual appearance, but to arouse the conviction of a new and definite reality. They do not seek to imitate form, but to create form; not to imitate life, but to find an equivalent for life…” 

Fry, Roger. “The French Post-Impressionists” (1912). Visions and Design. London: Catto & Windus, 1920. p. 156-7.

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