From the 15th April to 15th May 1874 Monet exhibited his work together with Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Édouard Manet, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, and some other thirty artists. They organized their exhibition on their own as they were usually rejected at the Paris Salon. Most visitors were disgusted and even outraged over such a graffiti. Monet's Impression, Sunrise enjoyed the most attention and some visitors even claimed that they were absolutely unable to recognize what was shown at all.
A critic who attended the exhibition, M. Louis Leroy, wrote a now famous article in Le Charivari in which he used the term "Impressionist" based on the title of this painting. Despite the fact that Leroy had used the word derisively, the group decided to adopt it and painters such as Renoir and Degas were happy to be called Impressionists
Ironically, Impression, Sunrise is not typical of Monet's work, although it does carry elements of his normal style. The horizon has disappeared and the water, sky, and reflections have all merged together. The buildings and ships in the background are only vague shapes and the red sun dominates the painting. As Monet himself commented: "It really can't pass as a view of Le Havre." His aim was not to create an accurate landscape, but to record the impressions formed while looking at that landscape.