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Impressionism emerged as movement when a group of artists called the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers etc. organized an exhibition in Paris in 1874 and launched the movement. The founding members comprised of Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Camille Pissaro. The group's unifying factor was its attempt to gain independence from the official annual 'Salon', the conventional art community in France where a jury of artists from Academie des Beaux-Arts selected artworks to award metals to. The name of the style is derived from the title of a Claude Monet work, 'Impression, Sunrise' that was exhibited in 1874 in Musée  Marmottan Monet, Paris when the critic Louis Leroy accused it of being a sketch or "impression," and not a finished painting.

The characteristics of impressionist artworks include the prevalent use of moving light and its reflection, hastily painted surfaces or the illusion of quickly painted surfaces, dots, dashes, commas and short brushstrokes, and the separation of colors to let the eye's perception mix them. Most of them take modern life as the subject matter. Famous artists apart from the founders include Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Alfred Sisley and Gustave Cailebotte.

Edgar Degas, The Dance Class, 1873-1876.