Thanks again to artrenewal.org for images
In the late 19th century the painting world was suddenly confronted with impressionism. Much is made today of the chilly reception that the Impressionists received at the hand of the Academy. That did happen. But not for very long, and I think rather too much is made of it. Many of the Impressionists became very successful, Monet had five full time gardeners and a studio you could have played basketball in.
In the flurry of "isms" that followed, the narrative of the oppressed school of daring new artists became a powerful sales tool for scores of multiplying and ever more 'revolutionary" movements in the art world. Recently some scholars and many painters have seen more in common than dissimilar betwixt the impressionists and the academics of the era. Certainly compared to the art of today, like that nice Damien Hirst fellow, they have a lot in common.
Just as there is diversity of opinion on most any subject in the world today, there was then also.
The painting at the top of the page is by Leon Gerome, an arch conservative academician who certainly fit the stereotype. He was a magnificent painter but reviled impressionism, as did many others. However within a single generation most academic painters had taken from the impressionists the tools they found useful and by the 1890's very few painters works were not informed by impressionism. Below is an example of an enormous painting by Bastien LePage, Joan of Arc, from the Met.
It is without a doubt an academic "machine" but it has moves learned from the impressionists.
By the 1890's most of the instruction given in painting was a mixture of the two, and grew ever more weighted towards impressionism. Lepage was held up as an example as a modern painter who had successfully amalgamated the two schools of thought.
I am going to return to Sargent again, but also to Zorn and Sorolla. These three have a lot in common and have become very popular as heroes among traditional painters today. I remember when Zorn and Sorolla were pretty much unknown in this country and Sargent was just beginning to be returned to the stature of an historically important artist. That would have been in the early 70's. The influence these three have had on contemporary realist (or traditional as I prefer to call it) painting has been enormous.
These three synthesized some of the lessons of the impressionists while still retaining their academic chops and outlook. They were all, neither fish nor fowl. You wouldn't call Sargent an impressionist, but he did paint alongside Monet who he admired, and he was influenced by the great "eye"of Giverny.
Above, John Sargent