Art critics first used the term “post-impressionistic” in 1911 to loosely describe the work of a few artists whose paintings reflect Impressionistic principles, but were created after the movement had lost favour in the late seventeenth century (around 1885). Significant artists whose works have been defined in this category include Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) and Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). Post-Impressionists, these few in particular, pushed Impressionist principles further than they had previously been explored. Those styles and techniques valued in this period focus on the painting of personal impressions (unlike earlier traditional painting) and a freer and more innovative use of colour to convey the mood or emotional feeling derived from the subject, as opposed to the fairly realistic, if often pastel-like (due to a desire to illuminate their work), use of colour promoted by the Impressionists.
In order to understand Post-Impressionism, the principles of the Impressionist movement have to be understood. The background from which Impressionism sprung was a period of industrial progress and a vibrant social scene. In Paris, some artists explored new ways of expression and broke free from the established French painting traditions enforced by the Salon. Artists took advantage of the contemporary scientific discoveries and industrialisation to improve the colour, lifespan, accessibility and general quality of the media (eg. The creation of smaller lightweight canvases for “plein air” painting, artificial paint pigments, and the invention of the collapsible metal paint tube in 1840 for easier transport.)
The primary school or group of painters established in the Post-Impressionist movement was called the Nabis School or the Pont-Aven group (after the France village where they were based). Gauguin was a founding member of the school, becoming the primary mentor of the group,