A Supreme Lack of Definition

Glean 4, Summer 2024

Essay by Bas Blaasse

L’art pour l’art

On the occasion of the 150th ‘anniversary’ of Impressionism, Bas Blaasse revisits some of the supposedly self-absorbed legacies of modern art. With the sky as an associative thread, the essay explores the intrinsic value of art for its own sake, making a case for its critical potential against an increasingly instrumental understanding of the world.

On Wednesday, 13 November 1872, about twenty minutes after dawn, Claude Monet likely completed the work that would inspire the name of a movement that was both a first and a last.1 Impression, Soleil Levant was first displayed a year and a half later on 15 April 1874. An association of artists organised this exhibition, which took place exactly one-hundred-fifty years ago in Nadar’s photo studio in Paris. The show is now often regarded as the ‘birthplace’ of Impressionism, alt (…)

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