Post-impressionism: universal, British, global

Sam Rose*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Starting from the possibility of a ‘global’ account of a style, this essay examines the consequences of the idea of post-impressionism. Around 1910, Roger Fry drew on histories of world art and international art historiography to cast post-impressionism as putatively universal, a style that was not just a new development, but was a rediscovery of a natural form of artistic creation. Seen this way, post-impressionism also had the potential to go global: to have a causal role in the development of multiple international modernisms following its spatial circulation across the globe. The essay goes on to explore first how even within Britain local variations and divisions quickly came to undercut this specifically British articulation of a universal style. It then turns to aspects of post-impressionism's subsequent circulations in India, Nigeria, Japan, and China to examine further how its putative universalism was transformed in a variety of locally specific ways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-569
Number of pages24
JournalArt History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2022


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