I’m constantly astonished and delighted at what a cornucopia of art was the late 19th century.
I don’t know of a period in which there was a greater array of disparate styles and movements. Had the preceding centuries not also been bountiful with wonderful work, I’d be tempted to call it a second Renaissance.
I have to think the main reason it isn’t often recognized as one of the great periods of artistic flourishing is the rewriting of history — and the deliberate denigration of the styles of that era — by the 20th century Modernist establishment. (If you notice, in most art history books and textbooks written from the mid-20th century onward, the only important art from the late 19th century is that which is counted in some way as leading up to 20th century Modernism. Everything else is either a minor footnote, or worse: facile, vacuous calendar art completely bankrupt of real artistic merit.)
But enough flame bait (sigh); here’s a small sampling of some work from a single year: 1879 — most of it pulled from at single page of example pieces on Wikimedia Commons, where you can while away hours (and hours) looking at work by a variety of artists, arranged by year (Time-Sink Warning).
(Images above, with links to my posts: Édouard Manet, Ilya Repin, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Eva Gonzalès, Albert Bierstadt, Henri Fantin-Latour, Arnold Böcklin, Josefina Holmlund, Jean-Baptiste van Moer, Claude Monet, James Jacques Joseph Tissot, John Atkinson Grimshaw, Frederick Leighton, John Singer Sargent)