During the early 20th century, the European cultural elite were discovering African , Micronesian and Native American art. Artists such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso were intrigued and inspired by the stark power and simplicity of styles of those cultures. Around 1906, Picasso, Matisse, André Derain and other artists in Paris had acquired an interest in primitivism, Iberian sculpture ,  African art and tribal masks , in part because of the compelling works of Paul Gauguin that had suddenly achieved center stage in the avant-garde circles of Paris. Gauguin's powerful posthumous retrospective exhibitions at the Salon d'Automne in Paris in 1903 and an even larger one in 1906 had a stunning and powerful influence on Picasso's paintings.
A myth has come to surround the Impressionists, making them into towering artistic geniuses who collectively formed a completely original way to make art. While these artists had their genius moments, nothing in art ever springs up fully formed. Over time we tend to forget that, while Impressionism was new and radical in the 1870s, it was also a synthesis of many disparate elements gleaned from earlier artists and movements. The Impressionists deserve credit for "inventing" Impressionism, but they themselves were quick to point out when, where and from whose prior work they'd been inspired to do this new thing.