Definition of plein-air in English:



  • [attributive] Denoting or in the manner of a 19th-century style of painting outdoors, or with a strong sense of the open air, that became a central feature of French impressionism.

    • ‘Even before Parisian painters took it up, Provencal landscape artists had practiced plein-air painting.’
    • ‘The connection was not immediate, however; plein-air painting had flourished for almost a century before it discovered the garden as a compelling subject.’
    • ‘They were especially attracted to plein-air painting, and their hero was the French realist Bastien Lepage.’
    • ‘Working out-of-doors, Reed makes plein-air paintings that are romantic yet surprisingly free of nostalgia.’
    • ‘Even as the animated brushwork makes them teeter on the edge of abstraction, these works have the natural light of 19 th-century plein-air paintings.’
    • ‘In Finch's hands, what could have been a simple plein-air painting of the sky morphs into a cerebral yet poetically lively hybrid.’
    • ‘He studied at the Slade School, 1875-80, then in Italy and Paris, where he was strongly influenced by contemporary French plein-air painting.’
    • ‘Yet his early plein-air sketches and impressionist paintings are known almost exclusively to his Antipodean admirers.’
    • ‘Among the 34 plein-air oil paintings of the Vermont woods in Martha Armstrong's show at Walter Wickiser was a small canvas of a red maple tree ablaze in autumnal light.’
    • ‘But by the same token, plein-air painting, arrived at with the help of Delacroix's teachings, also represented the transcendence of these teachings, their cancellation.’
    open air, out-of-doors, outside, exterior, external
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From French en plein air in the open air.