Impressionism captured the world’s imagination in the late nineteenth-century. Portraying the sensations left behind as modernity progressed, impressionist artists revolutionized the arts and the wider culture. Impressionism transformed painting and literature, and later film and advertising, and introduced new ways to look at and think about objects. Its legacy can be felt in a range of examples in popular and high culture, from cubism and the works of Zadie Smith and W. G. Sebald to advertisements for Pepsi and the observations of Oliver Sacks and Malcolm Gladwell. Yet despite impressionism’s ongoing aesthetic and cultural domination, the movement has also been associated with superficiality and commodified kitsch.
Jesse Matz considers these two versions of impression—the timeless and the negative—to explain the genre’s significance today. He examines impressionism’s footprint in the way we define ＂good＂ and ＂bad＂ art and in our imagining and reimagining of the status and aesthetics of art. As Lasting Impressions moves through contemporary literature, painting, and popular culture, Matz explains how the perceptual role, cultural effects, and social implications of impressionism continue to generate meaning and foster new forms of creativity, understanding, and public engagement.