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plein-air

[pleyn-air; French ple-ner]
adjective
  1. pertaining to a manner or style of painting developed chiefly in France in the mid-19th century, characterized by the representation of the luminous effects of natural light and atmosphere as contrasted with the artificial light and absence of the sense of air or atmosphere associated with paintings produced in the studio.
  2. designating a painting executed out of doors and representing a direct response to the scene or subject in front of the artist.
  3. (of a painting) having the qualities of air and natural light.
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Origin of plein-air

First recorded in 1890–95; adj. use of plein air
Related formsplein-air·ism, nounplein-air·ist, noun

plein air

[pleyn air; French ple ner]
noun
  1. the open air, especially the daylight of outdoors.
  2. Fine Arts. the quality of light and atmosphere out of doors, especially this quality as rendered in painting.
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Origin of plein air

1890–95; < French: literally, full air
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for plein-air

plein-air

adjective
  1. of or in the manner of various French 19th-century schools of painting, esp impressionism, concerned with the observation of light and atmosphere effects outdoors
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Derived Formsplein-airist (ˌpleɪnˈɛərɪst), noun

Word Origin

C19: from French phrase en plein air in the open (literally: full) air
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for plein-air

adj.

1894, from French phrase en plein air, literally "in the open air." The style developed among French impressionists c.1870.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper