Luminism means roughly, the painting of light and is applied specifically to the American landscape painters of the Hudson River school from about 1830–70

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  • James Abbott McNeill Whistler, 'Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea' 1871

    James Abbott McNeill Whistler
    Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea 1871
    Oil on wood
    support: 502 x 608 mm frame: 685 x 825 x 45 mm
    Bequeathed by Miss Rachel and Miss Jean Alexander 1972

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  • Georges Seurat, 'Le Bec du Hoc, Grandcamp' 1885

    Georges Seurat
    Le Bec du Hoc, Grandcamp 1885
    Oil on canvas
    frame: 839 x 998 x 65 mm support: 648 x 816 mm
    Purchased 1952

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Many of the paintings produced by the Hudson River school were dominated by intense and often dramatic light effects.

In British art a form of luminism underlies James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s ‘Nocturnes’. The term is also sometimes applied to neo-impressionist paintings in which the divisionist technique leads to a marked all over luminosity.