I am a huge fan of Impressionism. I have been moved me to tears... a couple times by these works of art. It's like realism with emotions. I can get lost in these pieces and I find that being able to see the artists strokes makes me feel connected with them. The Rock Stars of this style for me are Renoir, Degas, and Cassatt. And of course Monet and Pissarro are key members of this style but the former three mentioned are my absolute favorites.
An overview on Impressionism from Wikipedia - "Radicals in their time, early Impressionists violated the rules of academic painting. They began by constructing their pictures from freely brushed colours that took precedence over lines and contours, following the example of painters such as Eugène Delacroix. They also painted realistic scenes of modern life, and often painted outdoors. Previously, still lifes and portraits as well as landscapes had usually been painted in the studio. The Impressionists found that they could capture the momentary and transient effects of sunlight by painting en plein air. They portrayed overall visual effects instead of details, and used short "broken" brush strokes of mixed and pure unmixed colour—not blended smoothly or shaded, as was customary—in order to achieve the effect of intense colour vibration. The public, at first hostile, gradually came to believe that the Impressionists had captured a fresh and original vision, even if the new style did not receive the approval of the art critics and establishment."
Being that I am of the female gender I have a very special place for Miss Mary Cassatt in my heart.
Nelson Atkins Museum of art, but out of all the many times I have been there, I have only seen it up once. I remember entering the room that it was in expecting to see the usual suspects and then as I turned the corner this precious baby was staring back at me. I teared up immediately. And then the next time I went, it was gone.
And on a related note, look what gem I found at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha when I went with Henna:
JOSLYN MUSEUM- Edgar Degas, "Little Dancer Aged Fourteen" about 1920-21. Among the Impressionist painters, Degas alone was also a sculptor. "Little Dancer," the only statuette he exhibited, reflects his fascination with the ballet, whose aspects - rehearsals and backstage activities - he like to observe and record. The model for "Little Dancer" was Marie van Goethem, a "rat," as novices at the Paris Ballet were called. Although reminiscent of a standard dance pose (fourth position), her stance is informal; seemingly unaware of being observed, she stretches her arms and shoulders. This "snapshot effect," the capture of fleeting moments, is characteristic of Degas art.