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In the beginning there were Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Frédéric Bazille, and Camille Pissarro. Then they were joined by Edouard Manet; and after him Paul Cézanne and Edgar Degas. These men formed the nucleus of what later came to be known as impressionism, the term coined — as is often related — in 1874 by a mocking critic, Louis Leroy, when he saw Monet's Impression: Sunrise shown in the group's first exhibition in the Paris studio of the photographer Nadar. The term was derisive, of course, but endured, and between their first exhibition in 1874 and their last in 1886, the impressionists were probably reviled and maligned more than any other artistic movement before or since. They were considered rebels, degenerates, and a menace to society by a hostile press and a jeering, disbelieving public. A comment like that of Albert Wolff was the rule:

These so-called artists style themselves Intransigeants, Impressionists....They throw a few colors on to the canvas at random, and then they sign the lot.

And Emile Zola, then a reporter on L'Evènement, not only had his favorable criticisms torn and thrown in his face on the street, but actually lost his job because he d