How the Impressionists got their name
The First Impressionist Exhibition, 1874
Serious criticism or Tongue-In-Cheek?
Upon entering the first room, Joseph Vincent received an initial shock in front of the Dancer by M. Renoir.'What a pity,' he said to me, 'that the painter, who has a certain understanding of color, doesn't draw better; his dancer's legs are as cottony as the gauze of her skirts.'...Unfortunately, I was imprudent enough to leave him [Joseph Vincent] in front of the "Boulevard des Capucines," by [Monet].'Ah-ha! he sneered.... Is that brilliant enough, now!' 'There's impression, or I don't know what it means.' 'Only be so good as to tell me what those innumerable black tongue-lickings in the lower part of the picture represent?''Why, those are people walking along,' I replied.'Then do I look like that when I'm walking along the Boulevard Capucines?' 'Blood and Thunder!' 'So you're making fun of me!' '...What does that painting depict?' 'Look at the Catalogue.' 'Impression Sunrise.' 'Impression--I was certain of it. I was just telling myself that, since I was impressed, there had to be some impression in it...and what freedom, what ease of workmanship! Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than that seascape!'"*