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*Thanks to James Banta for the name tweak!

This is the third of the four brackets we’re using the determine the greatest artist in the history of Western art. The Renaissance and Baroque brackets were posted earlier and are below, and we’ll round it out with the Modern bracket this weekend. Then we’ll match ’em up, NCAA basketball style, and let you vote for the winners. Anyway, on to the 19th Century!

1, Edouard Manet (1832 – 1883)

800px-Edouard_Manet_004

There’s no obvious No. 1 seed in the 19th C., and you could make the case for half a dozen painters. I’ll go with Manet for his psychological insight, daring subject matter and influence on future generations.

2, Paul Cezanne (1839–1906)

468px-Paul_Cézanne_149

Father of modernism?

3, Jacques-Louis David (1748 – 1825)

504px-Jacques-Louis_David_008

David is a good example of the difficulty of dividing these brackets by centuries, but because so much of his work came after 1800 (and because his fellow neo-classicists followed him) he feels more like a 19th century than a Baroque painter. But I could be wrong.

4, Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

Claude_Monet,_Grainstacks_in_the_Sunlight,_Morning_Effect,_1890,_oil_on_canvas_65_x_100_cm

Monet could have been the top seed but loses points for lack of variety in his subject matter. He played it safe.

5, Edgar Degas  (1834 – 1917)

Cottonexchange1873-Degas

Who knew all the Impressionists live so long? Anyway, Degas is another who could have been No. 1. Don’t let all the ballerinas fool you. A Cotton Office in New Orleans (above) might be the greatest work ever painted in the United States.

6, Vincent Van Gogh (1853 – 1890)

487px-Portrait_of_Dr._Gachet

Is Van Gogh too low? Possibly. But I deduct points for having a short career, even one as brilliant’s as Van Gogh’s.

7, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres  (1780 – 1867)

Louis-Francois_Bertin

A giant.

8, Auguste Rodin (1840 – 1917)

Rodin_Balzac_Nasher_Dallas_1

Not enough sculptors in these brackets, in general.

9, J.M.W. Turner (1775 – 1851)

789px-Turner_Ovid_Banished_from_Rome

First abstract painter? Definitely the first non-French artist in the bracket.

10, Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877)

Meeting Gustave Courbet

11, Paul Gauguin (1848 – 1903)

Paul_Gauguin_125

12, James Whistler (1834 – 1903)

Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea 1871 by James Abbott McNeill Whistler 1834-1903

First American in this bracket

13, Eugene Delacroix (1798 – 1863)

Delacroix_-_La_Mort_de_Sardanapale_(1827)

These last four could come be any of a dozen artists. It’s a talent-rich period.

14, Georges Seurat (1859- 1891)

482px-Georges_Seurat_019

French artists make up 13 of the 16 in the bracket.

15, Thomas Cole (1801 – 1848)

500px-Cole,_Thomas_-_Der_Pokal_des_Riesen_-_hi_res_-_1833

Founder of the Hudson River School

16, Theodore Gericault  (1791 – 1824)

Theodore_Gericault_Raft_of_the_Medusa-1

Debated leaving him out because he had so few major works, but, man, he was good.

On the bubble: Constable, Sargent, Friedrich, Eakins, Pissarro, Cassatt, Remington, Homer

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