Today, artists associated with the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movement such as Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cezanne and Edgar Degas are among the best-known names in art history.

It wasn’t always that way, though. When they began to emerge on the art scene in Paris in the mid-19th century the vast majority of the art produced in the city tended to focus on neo-classical themes and style tied to Greek and Roman myth, Christianity, European history, the aristocracy and other approved subject matter.

When these artists began to depart from that tradition, focusing instead on the urban reality around them, and the play of light and colour in an environment that was being radically transformed by the Industrial Revolution, they were ridiculed.

To their credit, the artists didn’t become discouraged by the many snubs they endured. Instead, they continued to produce art, and developed alternate ways to put their work before the public. The most famous was the Salon des Refuses in 1863 where artists such as Manet, Camille Pissaro and James McNeill Whistler who had been rejected by the Paris Salon sponsored by the French government and the Academy of Arts displayed their work.

The artists also had champions among the Paris art community. Dealer Paul Durand-Ruel is one example. In 1886, he organized an exhibition of Impressionist work in New York that attracted interest from wealthy American collectors. On May 28 at 7:30 p.m. (with an encore screening May 31) Galaxy Theatre is screening a documentary called The ImpressionistsĀ that celebrates work from the dealer’s private collection.

You can find out more information on the Cineplex website. And here’s the trailer