07 The Impressionists

Dance in the Country, 1883, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Musée d’Orsay, Paris)

This is the final week that you can see Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting exhibition in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It ends September 13, 2015. If I lived closer, I’d visit for sure.


I watched The Impressionists — And the Man Who Made Them documentary in July. It turned out to be quite motivational for me. The gist is that for about 10 to 20 years, impressionist paintings were laughed at and ridiculed in France. If not for one particular art dealer’s support both financially and emotionally, most impressionists would have gone broke and not produced the masterpieces as we know and love today.


The Impressionists - And the Man Who Made Them


Chinese character: 印
Chinese character: 象
Chinese character: 派
Chinese character: 畫Simplified Chinese: 画
Chinese character: 家

Impressionism is 印象派 (yìn xiàng pài). 印象 is impressions, effects, and feelings. 派 is a faction, a clique, or a school.


畫家 (huà jiā) is painter or artist. 畫 means to draw, to paint, or a painting. 家 doesn’t mean family or home as you normally see but designates, when used as “suffix”, the specialty of a person.



The Impressionists Clip - Durand-Ruel's Stock Book


The art dealer who made many impressionists works possible for us to see today is Paul Durand-Ruel.


There are many transliterations of his name, such as:









Some of these don’t sound like his name and some even have negative connotations. So I don’t like any of them. My version is 保羅杜朗魯爾, specifically, Paul 保羅 (bǎo luó), Durand 杜朗 (dù lǎng), and Ruel 魯爾 (lǔ ěr).


I requested permissions from the museum to present you high resolutions of some artworks. So this week I’ll share them with you and show you some artists’ transliterated names. You get to enjoy the art and learn Chinese at the same time!


The Impressionists Clip - Philadelphia Museum of Art


Portrait of Paul Durand-Ruel

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1910

Oil on canvas

Private Collection

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