“There is no need to travel far to find blue. A simple trip to rue le Peletier, to the exhibition by the intransigents, and you are served at will, even in abundance. Blue as well as red and yellow, just ask and you will be served; these gentlemen of the Batignolles school do not look at the palette. They are Impressionists; and without pity, without transition and without nuance, they take the rainbow out of the sky,” wrote a disgruntled Baron Schop in his review of the second Impressionist exhibition in 1876.

While these ‘intransigents’ seem like old friends to us now – the sheer proliferation of Impressionist works in popular culture have made them accessible and perhaps even unchallenging – the ways in which they took ‘the rainbow out of the sky’ are precisely what made them the edgy, provocative artists of the day. Consequently, it’s impossible to think...

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