The term Post-Impressionism is a term of much controversy, yet in the end it is safe to say that the term was coined to describe the development in French art since Manet, between 1886 and 1905.
Post-Impressionism is characterized by the continued use of vivid colors, the thick application of paint, the distinctive brush strokes and the choice of real-life subject matter. But post-Impressionists are more inclined than Impressionists to emphasize geometric forms, to distort forms for expressive effects and to use unnatural and arbitrary colors.
What unites Post-Impressionists is their dissatisfaction with the triviality of subject matter and the loss of structure. It is how they tried to solve the problem that sets them apart.
While Seurat and his followers sought order through the systematical use of tiny dots of colors (Pointillism), Cezanne reduced his objects to their basic shapes but retained the bright freshness of the Impressionistic palette. Van Gogh again used color and vibrant swirling brush strokes to convey his feelings and his state of mind. And the list could go on.
Hence the above mentioned controversy about the term. Post-Impressionist artists are more united by their background, time and place they lived than by their style. Their style is to be described in the sub-categories like Neo-Impressionism, Fauvism, Synthetism, Pointillism etc.
Major players of this time period are: Paul Cezanne, Odilon Redon, Henri Rousseau, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, George Seurat, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Signat