Not the least important result of Impressionism has been the veritable revolution effected by it in the art of illustration. It was only natural that its principles should have led to it. The substitution of the beauty of character for the beauty of proportion was bound to move the artists to regard illustration in a new light; and as pictorial Impressionism was born of the same movement of ideas which created the naturalist novel and the impressionist literature of Flaubert, Zola and the Goncourts, and moreover as these men were united by close relations and a common defence, Edouard Manet's modern ideas soon took up the commentary of the books dealing with modern life and the description of actual spectacles.

The Impressionists themselves have not contributed towards illustration. Their work has consisted in raising to the style of grand painting subjects, that seemed at the best only worthy of the proportion of vignettes, in opposition to the subjects qualified as "noble" by the School. The series of works by Manet and Degas may be considered as admirable illustrations to the novels by Zola and the Goncourts. It is a parallel research in modern psychologic truth. But this research has remained confined to pictures. It may be presumed that, had they wished to do so, Manet and Degas could have admirably illustrated certain contemporary novels, and Renoir could have produced a masterpiece in commenting, say, upon Verlaine's Fêtes Galantes. The only things that can be mentioned here are a few drawings composed by Manet for Edgar A. Poe's The Raven and Mallarmé's L'Après-Midi d'un Faune, in addition to a few music covers without any great interest.

But if the Impressionists themselves have neglected actively to assist the interesting school of modern illustration, a whole legion of draughtsmen have immediately been inspired by their principles. One of their most original characteristics was the realistic representation of the scenes, the mise en cadre, and it afforded these draughtsmen an opportunity for revolutionising book illustration. There had already been some excellent artists who occupied themselves with vignette drawings, like Tony Johannot and Célestin Nanteuil, whose pretty and smart frontispieces are to be found in the old editions of Balzac. The genius of Honoré Daumier and the high fancy of Gavarni and of Grévin had already announced a serious protest of modern sentiment against academic taste, in returning on many points to the free tradition of Eisen, of the two Moreaus and of Debucourt. Since 1845 the draughtsman Constantin Guys, Baudelaire's friend, gave evidence, in his most animated water-colour drawings, of a curious vision of nervous elegance and of expressive skill quite in accord with the ideas of the day. Impressionism, and also the revelation of the Japanese colour prints, gave an incredible vigour to these intuitive glimpses. Certain characteristics will date from the days of Impressionism. It is due to Impressionism that artists have ventured to show in illustration, for instance, figures in the foreground cut through by the margin, rising perspectives, figures in the background that seem to stand on a higher plane than the others, people seen from a second story; in a word, all that life presents to our eyes, without the annoying consideration for "style" and for arrangement, which the academic spirit obstinately insisted to apply to the illustration of modern life. Degas in particular has given many examples of this novelty in composition. One of his pastels has remained typical, owing to the scandal caused by it: he represents a dance-scene at the Opera, seen from the orchestra. The neck of a double bass rises in the middle of the picture and cuts into it, a large black silhouette, behind which sparkle the gauze-dresses and the lights. That can be observed any evening, and yet it would be difficult to recapitulate all the railleries and all the anger caused by so natural an audacity. Modern illustration was to be the pretext of a good many more outbursts!

We must now consider four artists of great importance who are remarkable painters and have greatly raised the art of illustration. This title illustrator, despised by the official painters, should be given them as the one which has secured them the best claim to fame. They have restored to this title all its merit and all its brilliancy and have introduced into illustration the most serious qualities of painting. Of these four men the first in date is M.J.F. Raffaëlli, who introduced himself about 1875 with some remarkable and intensely picturesque illustrations in colours in various magazines. He gave an admirable series of Parisian Types, in album form, and a series of etchings to accompany the text of M. Huysmans, describing the curious river "la Bièvre" which penetrates Paris in a thousand curves, sometimes subterranean, sometimes above ground, and serves the tanners for washing the leather. This series is a model of modern illustration. But, apart from the book, the entire pictorial work of M. Raffaëlli is a humorous and psychological illustration of the present time. He has painted with unique truth and spirit the working men's types and the small bourgeois, the poor, the hospital patients and the roamers of the outskirts of Paris. He has succeeded in being the poet of the sickly and dirty landscapes by which the capitals are surrounded; he has rendered their anaemic charm, the confused perspectives of houses, fences, walls and little gardens, and their smoke, under the melancholy of rainy skies. With an irony free from bitterness he has noted the clumsy gestures of the labourer in his Sunday garb and the grotesque silhouettes of the small townsmen, and has compiled a gallery of very real sociologic interest. M. Raffaëlli has also exhibited Parisian landscapes in which appear great qualities of light. He excels in rendering the mornings in the spring, with their pearly skies, their pale lights, their transparency and their slight shadows, and finally he has proved his mastery by some large portraits, fresh harmonies, generally devoted to the study of different qualities of white. If the name "Impressionist" meant, as has been wrongly believed, an artist who confines himself to giving the impression of what he sees, then M. Raffaëlli would be the real Impressionist. He suggests more than he paints. He employs a curious technique: he often leaves a sky completely bare, throwing on to the white of the canvas a few colour notes which suffice to give the illusion. He has a decided preference for white and black, and paints very slightly in small touches. His very correct feeling for values makes him an excellent painter; but what interests him beyond all, is psychologic expression. He notes it with so hasty a pencil, that one might almost say that he writes with colour. He is also an etcher of great merit, and an original sculptor. He has invented small bas-reliefs in bronze which can be attached to the wall, like sketches or nick-nacks; and he has applied his talent even to renewing the material for painting. He is an ingenious artist and a prolific producer, a roguish, but sympathetic, observer of the life of the small people, which has not prevented him from painting very seriously when he wanted to, as is witnessed among other works by his very fine portrait of M. Clemenceau speaking at a public meeting, in the presence of a vociferous audience from which rise some hundred of heads whose expressions are noted with really splendid energy and fervour.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who died recently, insane, leaves a great work behind him. He had a kind of cruel genius. Descended from one of the greatest families of France, badly treated by nature who made him a kind of ailing dwarf, he seemed to take a bitter pleasure in the study of modern vice. He painted scenes at café-concerts and the rooms of wantons with intense truth. Nobody has revealed better than he the lowness and suffering of the creatures "of pleasure," as they have been dubbed by the heartrending irony of life. Lautrec has shown the artificiality of the painted faces; the vulgarity of the types of the prostitutes of low origin; the infamous gestures, the disorder, the slovenliness of the dwellings of these women; all the shady side of their existence. It has been said that he loved ugliness. As a matter of fact, he did not exaggerate, he raised a powerful accusation against everything he saw. But his terrible clairvoyance passed for caricature. This sad psychologist was a great painter; he pleased himself with dressing in rose-coloured costumes the coarsest and most vulgar creatures he painted, such as one can find at the cabarets and concerts, and he enjoyed the contrast of fresh tones with the faces marked by vice and poverty; Lautrec's two great influences have been the Japanese and Degas. Of the former he retained the love for decorative arabesques and the unconventional grouping; of the other the learned draughtsmanship, expressive in its broad simplification, and one might say that the pupil has often been worthy of the masters. One can only regret that Lautrec should have confined his vision and his high faculties to the study of a small and very Parisian world; but, seeing his works, one cannot deny the science, the spirit and the grand bearing of his art. He has also signed some fine posters, notably a Bruantwhich is a masterpiece of its kind.

Degas's deep influence can be found again in J.L. Forain, who has made himself known by an immense series of drawings for the illustrated papers, drawings as remarkable in themselves as they are, through their legends, bitterly sarcastic in spirit. These drawings form a synthesis of the defects of the bourgeoisie, which is at the same time amusing and grave. They also concern, though less happily, the political world, in which the artist, a little intoxicated with his success, has thought himself able to exercise an influence by scoffing at the parliamentary régime. Forain's drawing has a nervous character which does, however, not weaken its science: every stroke reveals something and has an astonishing power. In his less known painting can be traced still more clearly the style and influence of his master Degas. They are generally incidents behind the scenes and at night restaurants, where caricatured types are painted with great force. But they are insistently exaggerated, they have not the restraint, the ironical and discreet plausibility, which give so much flavour, so much value to Degas's studies. Nevertheless, Forain's pictures are very significant and are of real interest. He is decidedly the most interesting newspaper illustrator of his whole generation, the one whose ephemeral art most closely approaches grand painting, and one of those who have most contributed towards the transformation of illustration for the contemporary press.

Jules Chéret has made for himself an important and splendid position in contemporary art. He commenced as a lithographic workman and lived for a long time in London. About 1870 Chéret designed his first posters in black, white and red; these were at the time the only colours used. By and by he perfected this art and found the means of adding other tones and of drawing them on the lithographic stone. He returned to France, started a small studio, and gradually carried poster art to the admirable point at which it has arrived. At the same time Chéret drew and painted and composed himself his models. About 1885 his name became famous, and it has not ceased growing since. Some writers, notably the eminent critic Roger Marx and the novelist Huysmans, hailed in Chéret an original artist as well as a learned technician. He then exhibited decorative pictures, pastels and drawings, which placed him in the first rank. Chéret is universally known. The type of the Parisian woman created by him, and the multi-coloured harmony of his works will not be forgotten. His will be the honour of having invented the artistic poster, this feast for the eyes, this fascinating art of the street, which formerly languished in a tedious and dull display of commercial advertisements. He has been the promoter of an immense movement; he has been imitated, copied, parodied, but he will always remain inimitable. He has succeeded in realising on paper by means of lithography, the pastels and gouache drawings in which his admirable colourist's fancy mixed the most difficult shades. In Chéret can be found all the principles of Impressionism: opposing lights, coloured shadows, complementary reflections, all employed with masterly sureness and delightful charm. It is decorative Impressionism, conceived in a superior way; and this simple poster-man, despised by the painters, has proved himself equal to most. He has transformed the street, in the open light, into a veritable Salon, where his works have become famous. When this too modest artist decided to show his pictures and drawings, they were a revelation. The most remarkable pastellists of the period were astonished and admired his skill, his profound knowledge of technique, his continual tours-de-force which he disguised under a shimmering gracefulness. The State had the good sense to entrust him with some large mural decorations, in which he unfolded the scale of his sparkling colours, and affirmed his spirit, his fancy and his dreamy art. Chéret's harmonies remain secrets; he uses them for the representation of characters from the Italian comedy, thrown with fiendish verve upon a background of a sky, fiery with the Bengal lights of a fairy-like carnival, and he strangely intermingles the reality of the movements with the most arbitrary fancy. Chéret has also succeeded in proving his artistic descent by a beautiful series of drawings in sanguine: he descends from Watteau, Boucher and Fragonard; he is a Frenchman of pure blood; and when one has done admiring the grace and the happy animation of his imagination, one can only be surprised to see on what serious and sure a technique are based these decorations which appear improvised. Chéret's art is the smile of Impressionism and the best demonstration of the decorative logic of this art.

These are the four artists of great merit who have created the transition between Impressionist painting and illustration. It would be fit to put aside Toulouse-Lautrec, who was much younger, but his work is too directly connected with that of Degas for one to take into account the difference of age. He produced between 1887 and 1900 works which might well have been ante-dated by fifteen years. We shall study in the next chapter his Neo-Impressionist comrades, and we shall now speak of some illustrators more advanced in years than he. The oldest in date is the engraver Henri Guérard, who died three years ago. He had married Eva Gonzalès and was a friend of Manet's, many of whose works have been engraved by him. He was an artist of decided and original talent, who also occupied himself successfully with pyrogravure, and who was happily inspired by the Japanese colour-prints. His etchings deserve a place of honour in the folios of expert collectors; they are strong and broad. As to the engraver Félix Buhot, he was a rather delicate colourist in black and white; his Paris scenes will always be considered charming works. In spite of his Spanish origin, the painter, aquarelliste, and draughtsman Daniel Vierge, should be added to the list of the men connected with Impressionism. His illustrations are those of a great artist—admirable in colour, movement and observation; all the great principles of Impressionism are embodied in them. But there are four more illustrators of the first rank: Steinlen, Louis Legrand, Paul Renouard and Auguste Lepère.

Steinlen has been enormously productive: he is specially remarkable for his illustrations. Those which he has designed for Aristide Bruant's volume of songs, Dans la rue, are masterpieces of their kind. They contain treasures of bitter observation, quaintness and knowledge. The soul of the lower classes is shown in them with intense truth, bitter revolt and comprehensive philosophy. Steinlen has also designed some beautiful posters, pleasing pastels, lithographs of incontestable technical merit, and beautifully eloquent political drawings. It cannot be said that he is an Impressionist in the strict sense of the word; he applied his colour in flat tints, more like an engraver than a painter; but in him too can be felt the stamp of Degas, and he is one of those who best demonstrate that, without Impressionism, they could not have been what they are.

The same may be said of Louis Legrand, a pupil of Félicien Rops, an admirably skilful etcher, a draughtsman of keen vision, and a painter of curious character, who has in many ways forestalled the artists of to-day. Louis Legrand also shows to what extent the example of Manet and Degas has revolutionised the art of illustration, in freeing the painters from obsolete laws, and guiding them towards truth and frank psychological study. Legrand is full of them, without resembling them. We must not forget that, besides the technical innovation (division of tones, study of complementary colours), Impressionism has brought us novelty of composition, realism of character and great liberty in the choice of subjects. From this point of view Rops himself, in spite of his symbolist tendencies, could not be classed with any other group, if it were not that any kind of classification in art is useless and inaccurate. However that may be, Louis Legrand has signed some volumes resplendent with the most seductive qualities.

Paul Renouard has devoted himself to newspaper illustration, but with what surprising prodigality of spirit and knowledge! The readers of the "Graphic" will know. This masterly virtuoso of the pencil might give drawing-lessons to many members of the Institute! The feeling for the life of crowds, psychology of types, spirited and rapid notation, astonishing ease in overcoming difficulties—these are his undeniable gifts. And again we must recognise in Renouard the example of Degas and Manet. His exceptional fecundity only helps to give more authority to his pencil. Renouard's drawings at the Exhibition of 1900 were, perhaps, more beautiful than the rest of his work. There was notably a series of studies made from the first platform of the Eiffel Tower, an accumulation of wonders of perspectives framing scenes of such animation and caprice as to take away one's breath.

Finally, Auguste Lepère appears as the Debucourt of our time. As painter, pastellist and wood-engraver he has produced since 1870, and has won for himself the first place among French engravers. It would be difficult to recount the volumes, albums and covers on which the fancy of his burin has played; but it is particularly in wood-engraving that he stands without rival. Not only has he produced masterpieces of it, but he has passionately devoted himself to raising this admirable art, the glory of the beautiful books of olden days, and to give back to it the lustre which had been eclipsed by mechanical processes. Lepère has started some publications for this purpose; he has had pupils of great merit, and he must be considered the master of the whole generation of modern wood-engravers, just as Chéret is the undisputed master of the poster. Lepère's ruling quality is strength. He seems to have rediscovered the mediaeval limners' secrets of cutting the wood, giving the necessary richness to the ink, creating a whole scale of half-tones, and specially of adapting the design to typographic printing, and making of it, so to say, an ornament and a decorative extension for the type. Lepère is a wood-engraver with whom none of his contemporaries can be compared; as regards his imagination, it is that of an altogether curious artist. He excels in composing and expressing the life, the animation, the soul of the streets and the picturesque side of the populace. Herein he is much inspired by Manet and, if we go back to the real tradition, by Guys, Debucourt, the younger Moreau and by Gabriel de Saint-Aubin. He is decidedly a Realist of French lineage, who owes nothing to the Academy and its formulas.

It would be evidently unreasonable to attach to Impressionism all that is ante-academical, and between the two extremes there is room for a crowd of interesting artists. We shall not succumb to the prejudice of the School by declaring, in our turn, that there is no salvation outside Impressionism, and we have been careful to state repeatedly that, if Impressionism has a certain number of principles as kernel, its applications and its influence have a radiation which it is difficult to limit. What can be absolutely demonstrated is, that this movement has had the greatest influence on modern illustration, sometimes through its colouring, sometimes simply through the great freedom of its ideas. Some have found in it a direct lesson, others an example to be followed. Some have met in it technical methods which pleased them, others have only taken some suggestions from it. That is the case, for instance, with Legrand, with Steinlen, and with Renouard; and it is also the case with the lithographer Odilon Redon, who applies the values of Manet and, in his strange pastels, the harmonies of Degas and Renoir, placing them at the service of dreams and hallucinations and of a symbolism which is absolutely removed from the realism of these painters. It is, finally, the case with the water-colour painter Henri Rivière, who is misjudged as to his merit, and who is one of the most perfect of those who have applied Impressionist ideas to decorative engraving. He has realised images in colours destined to decorate inexpensively the rooms of the people and recalling the grand aspects of landscapes with a broad simplification which is derived, curiously enough, from Puvis de Chavannes's large decorative landscapes and from the small and precise colour prints of Japan. Rivière, who is a skilful and personal poetic landscapist, is not exactly an Impressionist, in so far as he does not divide the tones, but rather blends them in subtle mixtures in the manner of the Japanese. Yet, seeing his work, one cannot help thinking of all the surprise and freedom introduced into modern art by Impressionism.

Everybody, even the ignorant, can perceive, on looking through an illustrated paper or a modern volume, that thirty years ago this manner of placing the figures, of noting familiar gestures, and of seizing fugitive life with spirit and clearness was unknown. This mass of engravings and of sketches resembles in no way what had been seen formerly. They no longer have the solemn air of classic composition, by which the drawings had been affected. A current of bold spontaneity has passed through here. In modern English illustration, it can be stated indisputably that nothing would be such as it can now be seen, if Morris, Rossetti and Crane had not imposed their vision, and yet many talented Englishmen resemble these initiators only very remotely. It is exactly in this sense that we shall have credited Impressionism with the talents who have drawn their inspiration less from its principles, than from its vigorous protest against mechanical formulas, and who have been able to find the energy, necessary for their success, in the example it set by fighting during twenty years against the ideas of routine which seemed indestructible. Even with the painters who are far removed from the vision and the colouring of Manet and Degas, of Monet and Renoir, one can find a very precise tendency: that of returning to the subjects and the style of the real national tradition; and herein lies one of the most serious benefits bestowed by Impressionism upon an art which had stopped at the notion of a canonical beauty, until it had almost become sterile in its timidity.