Post impressionism was a movement in late-19th-century French painting that emphasized the artist's personal response to a subject.
Post impressionism takes its name from an art movement that immediately preceded it: impressionism. But whereas impressionist painters concentrated on the depiction of a subject's immediate appearance, post impressionists focused on emotional or spiritual meanings that the subject might convey.
Although impressionist artists interpreted what they saw, their approach nevertheless remained rooted in observation of the natural world. Post impressionists conveyed their personal responses to the world around them through the use of strong, unnatural colors and exaggeration or slight distortion of forms.
Post impressionism can be said to have begun in 1886, the year that French painter Georges Seurat exhibited Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, and to have ended in 1906, the year French painter Paul Cezanne died.
The term post impressionism, however, was coined in 1910 by British art critic Roger Fry when he organized an exhibition of French paintings at the Grafton Galleries in London. Fry is said to have been dissuaded from using the word expressionist to describe the work of French artists Cezanne, Seurat, Paul Gauguin, and Henri Matisse, the Dutch-born Vincent van Gogh, and others, and to have finally declared: "Oh, let's just call them post-impressionists; at any rate, they came after the impressionists."