February 2021

Before Impressionism, Sketch and Finish in 19th Century Landscape, Painting in Plein Air


Art history is replete with myths. Among them is the idea that outdoor painting – or painting en plein air – was invented by the young Impressionists during the 1860s and 1870s. This lecture considers artists who were painting outside from the motif well before that point. John Constable, Camille Corot, Charles Daubigny and Frederic Edwin Church are just some of the artists who led the way during the early and middle years of the 19th century, laying the groundwork for the later achievements of Impressionist painters like Renoir and Monet. This lecture considers the motivations for artists to paint en plein air, the emergence of an international vogue for naturalist landscape, as well as the techniques and materials used in outdoor painting.

Kathleen McLauchlan is the speaker for this lecture.

She graduated at Oxford University (Modern History) and the Courtauld Institute (MA in 19th century French and British painting). She completed her PhD, ‘French painters in Rome, 1815–1863’ in 2001, and has taught for numerous institutions including Birkbeck College, Sotheby’s Institute, Newcastle University, Oxford University and the OU. Publications include articles and exhibition catalogues on academic and Orientalist art. She was head of the Art Department at Morley College until 2014, and for the last few years has been a course director at the Victoria & Albert Museum, where she organises courses and gives lectures on the history of European art.

Kathleen McLauchlan teaches courses on 19th century European art.

February 11th at 1045 a.m.

Monet painting in his studio boat by Edouard Manet