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Impressionist Quartet: The Intimate Genius of Manet and Morisot, Degas and Cassatt

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Impressionist Quartet draws us into the inner lives of a core group of mid-nineteenth-century artists-Edouard Manet, Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, and Berthe Morisot-known, collectively, as the "Impressionists." Derided by critics, sneered at by contemporaries, their work sold for pittances. They were either marginalized or dismissed altogether by the French art establishment ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 16th 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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Lisa
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
This reads like a bore of a history book without any new value to more interesting descriptions of these four artists. It is mostly tedious descriptions of famous paintings. It would have been best to provide links to the works so the aesthetics are left to the reader freeing the author to discuss the context. The background research is limited but perhaps that reflects the ambitious plan to cover all four artists in a single book. But in fact, really only Manet and Degas are covered. Only one-t ...more
Susan Liston
This was a slightly dry book that I didn't really need to read because I have already read most of what's here somewhere else. And I hate art books that do not provide an illustration but instead DESCRIBE a painting in detail to you. I can go look it up on the Internet if you are too cheap to reproduce it, thank you, don't DESCRIBE it to me. But this does get a point for not sloughing off Leon Koella but actually discussing the issue. I don't recall reading before that an illegitimate child in F ...more
Paul
Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
A very secondary book. I'd hoped to learn more about the relationships between Manet & Morisot, and especially Cassatt and Degas...but there is little here that I haven't found presented elsewhere, and in far less tedious terms.

For a book on four painters, there is a notable lack of reproduced paintings, and those paintings that are reproduced are in black and white, stealing the Impressionist vitality.

Moreover, the author is forever verbally describing paintings, and at length. What tedium! T
...more
Hilary
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Uneven treatment of subjects, pedantic descriptions of painting without illustrations, use of black and white illustrations. Did not enjoy. No unique perspective on any of his subjects.

I was just going to list off my grievances without forming them into sentences because this book was not worth my time. His treatment of Morisot was sexist and vapid. Essentially, he used her biography as a way of getting to Manet and Degas. Also, he seems to have dismissive view of her skills as an artist. He pr
...more
Karen Soanes
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
This was so disappointing and I wanted to like it! Each artist is written about in isolation. These four artist do pop up in stories about each other- but only when their paths crossed, not in any meaningful way. If you're going to name this book Impressionist Quartet, one assumes their stories will be woven together to show how they influenced and competed with each other. The other disappointing aspect of this book is that the author describes major paintings and works along the way but there ...more
Barbara
Feb 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
I thought he did a great job of describing the four artists and their art and their relationships. I did not like that he spent so much time telling about paintings that were not included and even the ones that were included were in black and white. 3.5 rounded up
James Henderson
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art-biography
Meyers is an accomplished scholar, biographer and editor, with highly regarded studies of Katherine Mansfield, Somerset Maugham, D.H. Lawrence and other literary lions to his credit. Writing about the impressionists is a perfect match for his talents because of the intimate relationship of art and letters in the late 19th century.
In his four-subject biography Meyers illuminates the intimacies of Edouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt. Their private ordeals and inner demons a
...more
Jessica
Oct 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: library-book
I dislike authors that insist of describing works of art in detail and not illustrating the work. Because of this I only made it to chapter 5 and then gave up.
Jim
Feb 01, 2010 rated it liked it
learned more about Manet IN 1st 10 pages than ever knew
Judy
Feb 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Wonderful profiles of Manet and Morisot, Degas and Cassatt. I absolutely fell in love with Manet.
Mike Mik
Dec 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
well-written
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Jeffrey Meyers, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, has recently been given an Award in Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Thirty of his books have been translated into fourteen languages and seven alphabets, and published on six continents. He lives in Berkeley, California.

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