• 29 Jul 2013
  • 03 Aug 2013

French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism

This seminar examines the pioneering artists of French impressionism and post-impressionism whose innovations laid the foundations for 20th-century art.

The second half of the 19th century witnessed great political and social change in France with accompanying challenges to the artistic status quo. The poet and essayist Charles Baudelaire urged artists to paint modern life rather than subjects drawn from history. As if responding to his call, a group of radical young paintersundefinedpejoratively dubbed "impressionists"undefinedturned their attention to the changing world around them, especially Paris, which was undergoing large-scale transformation from a medieval to a modern city. The new parks and broad boulevards, the cafes, theaters, and dance hallsundefinedwhere the social classes mingled in ways previously unimaginableundefinedall became fodder for the impressionists' art. While Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir captured the optical and ephemeral effects of light and color in both urban and rural settings, Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt used similar techniques to portray a more sequestered world of domestic rituals and personal relationships.

A younger generation of artists absorbed and extended the impressionists' spirit of invention. Painters such as Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh invested their art with emotional, psychological, and spiritual depth, choosing colors and forms for expressive rather than descriptive purposes. Paul Cézanne and Georges Seurat challenged the impressionists' efforts to dissolve form through light. Experimenting with geometry and mathematics they simplified structure and form, paving the way for future abstract artists.

The seminar highlights the social and cultural context of art and introduces interdisciplinary teaching strategies. Participants will explore connections between the visual arts and music, social studies, and language arts. They will visit collections of 19th-century French art in other local cultural institutions. Activities are designed to meet teachers' personal and professional enrichment needs.


By offering an opportunity to explore paintings and objects in the National Gallery and other collections, the program aims to:

  • provide an introduction to French art and culture from the 1860s to the turn-of-the-century;

  • examine the radical changes in both technique and subject introduced by French impressionists and post-impressionists in the context of traditional artistic training and practice in France;

  • foster an understanding of painting as an artistic creation and of period techniques of fabrication;

  • encourage the use of artworks as primary sources in classroom instruction;

  • share models for incorporating art into interdisciplinary teaching and strengthening students' visual literacy.

Program Sessions
Two six-day sessions will be held at the Gallery for 25 participants each. Applicants should indicate their session preference and keep both weeks open until registration is finalized. They should also plan to attend the entire program, which takes place Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., and Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

Session 1: July 15–20, 2013
Session 2: July 29–August 3, 2013

Program Fees and Resources 
The fee is $200 per person and covers the cost of instruction, books, and other program resources.

Selection Criteria
Participants will be selected based on the individual's or the team's statement of purpose. Administrators (principals, supervisors, or curriculum specialists) will be given special consideration. To encourage national and diverse representation, efforts will be made to enroll candidates from each of the following five regions:

Map of United States of America

  1. Northwest and Alaska
  2. Southwest and Hawaii
  3. Midwest
  4. Northeast
  5. Southeast

Fellowship opportunities for teachers (K–12, all subjects) are listed below. All fellowships offer stipends of $2,000 and fee-waived enrollment. The stipend is intended to contribute to travel and program-related expenses. Applicants must meet the selection criteria for the program, identify the funding sources for which they wish to be considered (#7 on the application), and briefly explain the classroom outcomes they anticipate. Selection of fellows will be based on merit rather than financial need. Consideration will focus on the individual's or the team's statement of purpose, the topic's connection to curriculum and/or students' needs, and anticipated teaching outcomes.

Educators of any discipline who are currently employed within a public, private, or parochial school system, K–12, are eligible for funding.

  • Annetta J. and Robert M. Coffelt Sr. and Robert M. Coffelt Jr. Endowed Fellowship: Open to all K–12 educators who teach in the United States or its territories.
  • Sara Shallenberger Brown Fund: Open to all K–12 educators who teach in Kentucky.

Successful fellowship candidates will be paid upon completion of the program and submission of a two-page report summarizing how they will apply their experience at the Institute to daily teaching or administrative work.

Transportation and Housing 
Participants will be responsible for their own transportation and housing. A list of housing options will be provided upon admission, but participants should feel free to explore alternatives.

Credit Option
The University of Virginia's School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers one semester hour of graduate credit for successful completion of the summer program’s curriculum project. Virginia residents pay a credit fee of $252, and out-of-state participants, $542. A letter grade based on the curriculum project will be registered with the university.

The 2013 Teacher Institute is supported by generous gifts from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the Sara Shallenberger Brown Fundand the Annetta J. and Robert M. Coffelt Sr. and Robert M. Coffelt Jr. Endowed Fellowship

Application Process

Applications are due March 15, 2013, and must be submitted via the online form.

Educators may apply as individuals or as teams of two. Applicants are required to submit a statement of purpose (#5 on the application) explaining why they would like to attend the Institute. The statement should include ways the applicant(s) will incorporate the subject matter in their classroom studies. Applicants will also submit a plan for how they intend to share the Institute experience with their students and colleagues upon completion of the program (#6 on the application). K–12 educators of all subjects and grades are eligible.

Participants will be notified of their acceptance by April 27, 2013. If accepted, applicants will have until May 11, 2013, to confirm their participation.

Questions about this program should be directed to When contacting the Gallery, please provide a telephone number and the times of day when you can best be reached.

Application Form

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