They are the world's most popular artists. The works of Cezanne, Monet, Degas and their compatriots fetch tens of millions of dollars. But just who were they really? Why and how did they paint? What lies behind their enduring appeal? To help answer these questions, the film secured unique access to a major exhibition focussing on the 19th century Parisian art collector Paul Durand-Ruel, the outspoken champion of impressionism. This eagerly anticipated exhibition was among the most comprehensive ever held about the Impressionists. Durand-Ruel's brave decision to exhibit the impressionists in New York in 1886 introduced enlightened, wealthy Americans to modern French painting. In doing so, he not only filled great American galleries with impressionist masterworks but also kept impressionism alive at a time when it faced complete failure. This energetic and revealing film tells his remarkable story along with that of the impressionists themselves.