Unpacking the Impressionists

Last night I woke up way too early, at 5 a.m. and ended up watching TV. PBS was broadcasting a program that dramatized the lives of the impressionists. It was like the O.C. except about 19th century French painters. Cezanne was a miserable wretch who never sold any paintings and had impregnated his peasant model and had a son whom he kept secret from his father who was forever badgering him about getting a real job.
Cezanne: But, Papa, I am redefining the relationship between color and form! Papa: Zut! Does it pay well?
Monet was embroiled in an affair with a married woman who refused to divorce her husband for Catholic reasons. Manet was dying of something throughout the episode and finally croaked. The most outstanding aspect of the show was the various artists’ looks and cool facial hair. The young Monet had a long, wild goatee and then grew and enormous bushy white beard. Renoir had John Lennon- style round dark glassses; Cezanne had a Gen-X scruffy beard and wore wild hats and berets.
Oh, and there were a few paintings tossed in for good measure.
P.S. Apparently it’s for sale on DVD here.

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