“Monet and the Impressionists” by Patrick Bade. This is an impressive book, if only for the hundreds of reproductions. Though fairly recent, published in 2003, it suffers from poor colour reproduction most probably because of its Chinese printers. But then unless you are in the Musee d’Orsay or the Louvre you will not be seeing the work in true colour regardless of the printer. (not to slight the Art Institute in Chicago or New Yorks Met or any other collection of Impressionist work)
The legend goes that the term Impressionist comes from critic Louis Leroy’s remarks about Monet’s 1872 painting “Impression: Sunrise”. Exhibited at the studio of the photographer Nadar at 35 boulevard des Capucines, Paris, April 15, 1874; this was a ‘Realist Salon’ in the tradition of the Salon des Refuses of the 1860’s that included Monet, Degas, Sisley, Renoir, Pissarro, Morisot, Boudin, and Cezanne. Interestingly Edouard Manet, considered a premier Impressionist, never exhibited in an official Impressionist show.
Bade breaks the book into 14 chapters, Background, Techniques, the Artists, and then various categories of type of image, with a very brief write up at the start of the chapter. The heart of this book is the wealth of reproductions. Some fine ones from the ‘Portraits’ chapter include Renoir’s 1874 ‘Charles Le Coeur’, Cezanne’s 1866 ‘Scipio the Negro’, and Monet’s 1871 ‘Madame Monet on the Sofa’. A nourishing visual treat.