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en plein air - pronounced "uhn plen ear" refers to paintings that have been created outdoors. translated literally as "in open air", "schools of french impressionist painters during the late 1860's in france engaged mainly in painting the effects of outdoor lights and atmospheres. plein air became central to impressionist painters: edouard manet (1832 - 1883) ("banc")
claude monet (1840 - 1926) ("autumn effect at argenteuil")
and pierre-auguste renoir (1841 - 1919), to name some of the most famous." ("monet painting in his garden")

en plein air can also refer to other outdoor activities such as yoga and theater.

usage examples:
1. are you going to the shakespere en plein air show in the park this weekend?
2. the artist's work en plein air is very apparent due to the extremely realistic portrayal of light in this painting.
3. one of my favorite artists, wolf kahn, paints many pieces en plein air at his summer home in massachusetts. pictured below, "in massachusetts" is a perfect example of his famous landscapes:
first image via artists-atelier.com. quoted text via "french for le snob: adding panache to your everyday converstaions" by yvette reche, fall river press

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