Editor's note: Impressionist Normandy is without doubt one of the most exciting events to take place in Europe in 2010. More than a festival, it is a monumental celebration of a distinctive art style, wonderful artists, a beautiful region of France, and a focus on the cities towns and countryside that contributed to the evolution of the wonderful artistic expression called Impressionism. What follows on this page are excerpts from the media kit created for Impressionist Normandy. Even though we devote our attention to the core interest of this celebration exclusively there are other additional programs significant in their contribution to this celebration. In fact, there are over 200 events in this grand festival that runs from June 2010 to September 2010. We hope you will explore the fuller measure of information that is available online by visiting the following web sites and that you will have the opportunity to visit Impressionist Normandy personally.
Monet, Impression, soleil levant (Impression: Sunrise), 1872, Musée Marmottan-Monet
"Impressionism owes its name to the picture Impression:Sunrise, painted by Monet in Le Havre in 1872. This canvas marvelously reflects a style of painting which sought to capture ephemeral moments. It preferred colour to form and let the viewer’s eye reconstitute what the painter’s fragmented brushstrokes had disassociated. in choosing this picture as the target of his mockery, and in characterizing the painters who adopted this manner of painting as “Impressionists,” the satirical critic, Louis Leroy, had no idea of how perspicacious he really was. In so doing, he simultaneously revealed the birth of a pictorial trend which sought light, the outdoors, and fleeting impressions, and he also testified to the geographical origins of this movement."
Impressionism seemed to have burst on to the scene in Paris in 1863 at theSalon des Refusés, the exhibition which brought together the painters refused for the official Salon exhibition. In reality, this pictorial revolution, one of the most important in art history, emerged slowly, by successive transformations of a new pictorial genre, that of outdoor landscape painting, which was already taking form in Normandy in the 1820’s.
Impressionism, which is the expression itself of clear light painting, did not, as is often said, come out of the sombre Barbizon Forest where the naturalist painters were to be found. What a paradox that would be! This painting of fugitive moments was born under the capricious Norman skies, along its luminous river banks, and its verdant valleys.
EXHIBITIONS: IMPRESSIONIST NORMANDY
Une ville pour l’Impressionnisme: Monet, Pissarro et Gauguin à Rouen / A City for Impressionism: Monet, Pissarro, and Gauguin in Rouen
Venue: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen
Dates: June 4th – September 26th, 2010
The musée des beaux-Arts of Rouen, which houses the finest Impressionist collection in France outside of Paris, presents about one hundred masterpieces devoted to the city “of a hundred steeples” by the greatest Impressionist masters. The irresistible event of the Impressionist Normandy Festival, the long-awaited exhibition which is already of recognized national interest, “A City for Impressionism: Monet, Pissarro, and Gauguin in Rouen,” brings together an exceptional ensemble of works from public and private collections from the whole world, including several masterpieces which have never been exhibited in France.
Rouen played a significant role in late 19th century art history. Since the Renaissance, the city had continually attracted artists, however the fascination it exercised reached its height during the Impressionist period due to the combined effect of prestige for industrial progress, a spectacular site, and an intact architectural heritage. This city which Pissarro claimed was “as beautiful as Venice” thus became a landmark site for modern painting.
One hundred paintings of great late 19th century painters, headed by Monet, Gauguin, and Pissarro, will be brought together to explore one of the last great themes in the History of Impressionism which has yet to be the subject of an exhibition: the Norman city as a testing ground for modern painting, a city caught between urban bustle and rural life, old stones and roaring industry, and the whole vibrating with the reflections of the Seine.
A Destination for 19th Century Traveling Artists
Taking advantage of its privileged situation on the Seine, between Paris and the Norman coast, Rouen was a city that was prized by landscape painters already from the beginning of the 19th century. The English painter, Richard Parkes Bonington, whose markedly modern style is apparent in works with breathtaking atmospheric qualities, set the example and profoundly transformed the French painters’ understanding of landscape. Having explored Normandy at his side, Paul Huet, initiator of the Romantic landscape, offered views of the Rouennaise countryside that broke with the classical tradition, while Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot also preferred working directly on site and on light. Considered by many as the “first Impressionist,” Johan Barthold Jongkind produced views of Rouen marked by an acute sense of light and a manifest determination to create a pure effect.
Nonetheless, with Joseph Mallord William Turner, Rouen became a subject of study in and of herself, as can be seen in a great number of sketches and watercolours. Not only did the works that he created along the banks of the Seine win the admiration of Monet and Pissarro later on, but one also notes that Monet’s Cathedrals are not without evoking the views by this illustrious predecessor.
Camille Corot. Vue de Rouen depuis la colline Sainte-Catherine, 1833, Huile sur toile, Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum, Museum of Art
A City in the Heart of the Norman Countryside
The countryside around Rouen was also a source of numerous sites which stimulated the painters’ aesthetic pursuit of a new genre. Among others, Charles Angrand was one of these outdoor painters whose work was flooded with light. More significantly, Paul Gauguin’s trip to Rouen in 1884 was at the origin of thirty paintings, most of which were landscapes. In these scenes, painted according to the seasons, from January to November, Gauguin created dense well balanced Impressionist works in which one can read the blended influences of Cézanne and Pissarro. Similarly, Alfred Sisley, who stayed with François Depeaux in 1894, took advantage of the immediate proximity of water and luxurious vegetation in order to capture the richness of nature in Normandy in a very diverse range of colour effects.
Claude Monet, Bateaux sur la Seine à Rouen, 1872-1873, Huile sur toile, Washington, National Gallery of Art, collection Ailsa Mellon Bruce
City on the Water: Impressionist Reflections
Located in a meander of the Seine, Rouen provided painters with numerous sites to explore. The Seine, first of all, became the main subject of numerous pictures. In keeping with Claude Monet during his first sojourn in 1872, or Camille Pissarro in 1883, the painters’ attention was drawn mainly to the river which was sometimes enlivened by the towers of the Gothic cathedral and the great sailing ships. The Seine was propitious for the atmospheric studies prized by painters who had Impressionist tendencies. In Rouen, Armand Guillaumin was to develop a certain landscape style tinted with Romanticism which is most apparent in his representations of the snowy banks of the river. Next the painters featured the effervescence of the port in their pictures. Monet and Pissarro, of course, but also Albert Lebourg, determined to record the industrialisation of the city. Finally, the very silhouette of the “city of a hundred steeples” lent itself particularly well to Impressionist variations; some particularly picturesque sites in the city, such as the Rue de l’Epicerie, especially attracted the artists’ attention.
The exhibition catalogue, in addition to the one hundred works exhibited, will display the results of a vast research effort and will bring together international specialists of Impressionism.
A Permanent Attachment by the Artists to the City
The permanence of Impressionist sites characterizes a large spectrum of the pictorial production between 1890 and 1920. Whether we consider Charles Angrand, Paul Signac, or Raoul Dufy, numerous painters settled in Rouen for shorter or longer stays, always with the intent of appropriating for themselves a site painted by their illustrious forebears. The river and the bridges which cross it, the port which brings it to life, and the city with its steeples, remained fertile sources of inspiration at the beginning of the twentieth century. One can associate this attachment to the spectacular development of the “School of Rouen:” the “musketeers” Charles Angrand, Charles Frechon, Joseph Delattre, Léon-Jules Lemaître produced a certain number of authentic masterpieces starting in the 1880’s. The following generation brought other great figures, dominated by Robert Antoine Pinchon, who, after a Fauve period in the beginning of the century, continued the brilliance of Impressionism beyond the First World War.
Rouen, Subject of Pictorial Cycles
Monet’s series of Rouen Cathedral constitutes one of the highlights of Impressionism. Created in two separate campaigns of which the details are well known, these works represent a major step in the disappearance of the site itself which, though always identifiable, is dissolved in atmospheric studies. Every day, the painter, who simultaneously advanced on several pictures at once, found himself confronted with important difficulties inherent in the subject itself, this Gothic stone lacework which came alive under the play of perpetually shifting light. Incontestably, these works, whose juxtaposition is striking, transformed Rouen into a significant modern subject and an important milestone in art history.
In Rouen in 1896, Pissarro launched his first real series of urban landscapes. The pictorial influence of Monet probably played a role in the choice of Rouen, which Pissarro had crisscrossed thoroughly in 1895, just before the presentation of the Cathedral series at the Durand-Ruel Gallery. In turn, Pissarro produced thirty eight views of the city in 1896 and nineteen in 1898.
They were characterized by a wide brushstroke and an unprecedented rapidity of execution. For the first time, all the works of the series were focused on the Seine, a subject which was as eminently pictorial as it was poetic.
L’Impressionnisme au fil de la Seine : de Renoir et Monet à Matisse / Impressionism on the Seine : From Renoir and Monet to Matisse
Venue: Musée des Impressionnismes, Giverny
Curator of the musée des Impressionismes at Giverny, assisted by Vanessa Lecomte For the first Impressionist Normandy Festival, the musée des Impressionismes in Giverny organises an exhibition which is essentially didactic. It brings together approximately fifty paintings, which come from public and private collections. Painted along the banks of the Seine, they retrace the History of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, from Eugène Boudin to Henri Matisse. This event includes masterpieces by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, and Gustave Caillebotte. In addition to the artists cited above, the exhibition will also present paintings of lesser known masters who accompanied the birth and development of Impressionism, such as Armand Guillaumin, Henri Rouart, and Maximillien Luce The works will be presented chronologically and thematically in a presentation that will permit different levels of interpretation.
The first room is devoted to Pre-Impressionism: the Seine from Le Havre to Paris, seen by Jean-Baptiste Corot, Johan Barthold Jongkind, Stanislas Lépine, Eugène Boudin, as well as the future Impressionists before 1874. The second section is devoted to work and economic activities associated with the river. The major ports (Le Havre, Rouen, and Paris), transport and handling of merchandise will be evoked, as well as traditional activities such as laundresses. In the course of the works, one also witnesses the transformation of the landscape along the Seine under the effects of industrial development. The factory chimneys, gas metres, metal bridges, and the cranes often inspired the Impressionists and their followers.
Next comes a section concerned with the arrival of recreation as a corollary to industrialisation. The places for a Sunday stroll, popular dance stands, outdoor luncheons and picnics, bathers, nautical competitions, regattas were now the fashion. La Grenouillère at Croissy, the Fournaise Restaurant at Chatou, and the Restaurant la Sirène at Asnières, as well as the Island of the Grande Jatte, became major sites for Impressionism.
Finally, a gallery is dedicated to the sites of artists’ resorts and residences on the banks of the Seine. For there were many who settled more or less permanently outside of Paris, and preferably along the river One can cite Caillebotte, who bought a property in Petit-Gennevilliers in 1881, where he settled definitively in 1887. As for Claude Monet, he left Paris in 1871, to settle in Argenteuil, then in Vétheuil in 1878, and in Poissy in 1881, before choosing Giverny definitively in 1883. Sisley also preferred the banks of the Seine and many, such as Berthe Morisot, Paul Signac, and Luce stayed for varying . lengths of time along the Seine. The colony of American painters in Giverny is also evoked. Not to mention Pierre Bonnard, who in 1912, became Monet’s neighbour when he bought “Ma Roulotte” in Vernonnet, where he stayed until 1938.
The exhibition ends with a choice of Fauve works, because before celebrating the raw lights of the Mediterranean, the future Fauves found their first sources of inspiration along the banks of the Seine. André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck painted the Seine at Chatou and Bougival. Henri Matisse observed the Saint-Michel Quay from his studio in Paris, as did Albert Marquet and Othon-Friesz in Le Havre.
This exhibition benefits from exceptional loans from the musée d’Orsay and from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Maximilien Luce, néo-impressionniste. Une rétrospective / Maximilien Luce, Neo-Impressionist: a Retrospective
Venue: Musée des Impressionnismes, Giverny
Dates : July 28th – October 31st, 2010
Maximilien Luce was born in Paris in the milieu of craftsmen. Initially an engraver, he began a career as a painter in about 1880. Camille Pissarro, who shared his anarchist convictions, presented him to the Neo-Impressionist group in 1887, and Luce adopted the technique of division of tones.
Far from having Georges Seurat’s detached vision, Luce described the contemporary world with passion. He loved the effects of sunset’s violent light over the banks of the Seine and the unpublicized effects of urban lighting. No less lyrical are pictures of the Black Country1 where flames from the tall furnaces set the night on fire.
His works achieved a colourful powerfulness on the threshold of Fauvism. Fascinated by the work of Haussmann, he also evoked the builders’ universe. Later, installed at Rolleboise in the Yvelines, he found a calmer approach and returned to more serene subjects. With about thirty paintings, this exhibition retraces the route taken by one of the best representatives of the Neo-Impressionist movement.
Honfleur, entre tradition et modernité 1820-1900 / Honfleur, Between Tradition and Modernity, 1820-1900
Venue: Musée Eugène Boudin in Honfleur
Dates: June 2nd – September 6th, 2010
Since the beginning of the 19th century, Honfleur attracted the attention of landscape artists who scoured the countryside for new subjects. A Medieval town between sea and land at the foot of two hills, Honfleur’s natural setting, along with its fishing port and harbour, was enchanting. Between 1820 and 1830, Richard Parkes Bonington and Paul Huet stayed there, while Xavier Leprince and Camille Corot worked on the port and the Côte de Grâce. Subsequently, painters who had been trained in landscape in the Fontainebleau Forest or at Barbizon, lodged at the Saint-Siméon Farm, and created a friendly, joyful home atmosphere which journalists described in 1859 as “the Saint Siméon Museum” because the artists had left so many drawings and paintings on the bedroom walls. 1858 and 1859 were the decisive years marked by meetings between Monet and Boudin, followed by encounters between Courbet, Baudelaire, and Boudin.
Between 1862 and 1868 in Honfleur and Sainte-Adresse, Monet’s prolonged sojourns, in the company of his two “masters,” Boudin and Jongkind, forged the personality of the painter who would come to incarnate Impressionism. Others followed: A.F. Cals, who was admired by young landscape painters; Georges Seurat who painted the port and the coast; Henri Guérard and Eva Gonzalès or Paul Signac. In 1901, Félix Vallotton stayed in Honfleur and then returned for several years, to study the landscapes that his forebears had so appreciated, and reinterpret them in his own colourful, synthesizing fashion.
By bringing attention to its own collections complemented with prestigious loans, the musée Eugène Boudin proposes to retrace the history of the painters between Pre and Post Impressionism, from Corot to Vallotton, in order to shed light on forgotten or overshadowed relationships between the works and the artists.
The painters presented include: R-P.Bonington, Eugène Boudin, Adolphe-Félix Cals, Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, Alexandre Dubourg, Eva Gonzalès and Henri Guérard, Paul Huet, Johan-Barthold Jongkind, Claude Monet, Georges Seurat, Alfred Stevens, Constant Troyon, Paul Vallotton, Edouard Vuillard.
L’Essayage, 1891, Eau-forte
L’estampe impressionniste Trésors de la Bibliothèque nationale de France / Impressionist Prints, Treasures from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Venue: Musée des Beaux-Arts, Caen
Dates: June 4th – September 5th, 2010
For Impressionist Normandy, the musée des Beaux-Arts at Caen presents a wide selection of Impressionist prints, some 120 works, including several crucial items, from the Print and Photography Department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, one of the most important public collections in the world. These have been brought together largely due to gifts from artists, their families, or their circle.
The exceptional thematic and formal renewal which characterized print making between the years 1860 and 1890 is at the origins of modern prints. It represents the product of passionate experiments and independent creativity. During this period, which was marked by the creation of the Etching Society in 1862 and by eight Impressionist exhibitions organised between 1874 and 1886, the exploration of technique became an incontestable goal in and of itself. Beyond the subjects handled, one can admire the free touch of Manet’s etchings, the subtlety of mixed procedures by Degas and Pissarro, the sincerity of sketches engraved by Cézanne, Guillaumin, and Van Ryssel (alias Doctor Paul Gachet), the delicate dry points by Renoir and Berthe Morisot, as well as the tonal effects of Whistler, and the lightness of Mary Cassatt’s aquatintances.
Diverse practices – which included successive trial proofs of the same plate, ink manipulations, manual highlighting, and limited editions – transformed the print into a rare object. This pursuit of the individual and precious proof reached its apogee with the monotype, a unique printed image obtained without resorting to engraving. Experimentation focused as much on lighting, texture, and tint as on the mixing of techniques. They made it possible to capture shifting aspects of the landscape according to the hour, the season, and atmospheric variation. They gave portraits and private scenes a new spontaneity and unfinished character. This period also saw the arrival of colour engraving, as well as renewed interest in lithography. This exhibition, the first in France since the one in 1974 in the Bibliothèque nationale, is the chance to discover or explore both the great names of Impressionism and less famous artists who nonetheless played a decisive role in the renewal of original prints, such as Félix Bracquemond, Henri Guérard, the Viscount Lepic, Félix Buhot, Auguste Delâtre, and Marcellin Desboutin. Anoriginal scenography which was conceived especially for this exhibition, divides the circuit intoten sections. Emphasis is place on the principal themes of the Impressionist repertory: the portrait, scenes of daily life, and the landscape. Normandy will be especially present with Pissarro’s sites from Rouen, as well as Norman views by Henri Guérard (Honfleur, Dieppe) and Félix Buhot, an artist born in Valognes in the Cotentin.
An exhibition of the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the musée des Beaux-Arts, Caen.
Signac. Les ports de France / Signac. Ports of France
Venue: Musée Malraux, Le Havre
Dates: October 2010 – January 2011
In 1929, famous and celebrated at the age of 65, Paul Signac finally brought to fruition a project which had long been dear to him. He began watercolours of 100 French ports. This series called “Ports of France,” executed in two years, would represent the height of his career as a watercolourist. For the first time, thanks to the generosity of private collectors, this exhibition brings together a large number of works from this series, collectively a masterpiece of Signac’s graphic art.
Degas inédit - Les Degas de la donation Senn / Unpublished Degas: Degas from the Senn Donation
Venue: Musée Malraux, Le Havre
Dates: June 19th – September 19th, 2010
In 2004, Hélène Senn-Foulds gave her grandfather’s collection to the musée Malraux. From the late 19th century through the 1930’s, Olivier Senn, a cotton merchant and passionate art amateur in Le Havre, amassed his collection of contemporary works. His fine knowledge of artistic circles allowed him to acquire major Impressionist and Fauvist pictures by artists such as Renoir, Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, Marquet, Matisse, and Derain. The extraordinary donation of 205 works lifted the musée Malraux to the ranks of the richest French museums, after the musée d’Orsay, in terms of Impressionist holdings.
The Senn collection includes an exceptional group of mainly unpublished drawings and pastels by Edgar Degas. Primarily from his youth, these preparatory drawings for larger historical compositions are evidence of the original and well-formed taste of a collector who did not buy according to chance, but rather, constituted a coherent fascinating collection which is dominated by a love of line and drawing. The exhibition will bring these 47 works together with other drawings from the musée d’Orsay.
Painting in Normandy Collection
"Painting in Normandy"
Caen, Abbaye-aux-Dames • June – September 2010 (permanent exhibition)
Grand-Quevilly, Maison des Arts • June 11th – July 11th, 2010
Honfleur, Petit Grenier à Sel •July 17th – August 31st, 2010
The "Painting in Normandy" Collection, with Monet, Boudin, Gericault, Vuillard, Courbet, Corot, Dufy, Renoir, and many others, has become an ambassador and symbol of excellence for the Normandy region. Created in 1992 at the initiative of the Lower Normandy Regional Government Council and private partners, this collection today is enriched by more than one hundred paintings which bring together in a unique fashion, famous and lesser known artists concerned with the depiction of
Normandy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Honfleur, Le Havre, and later Rouen, symbolize periods of intense creation and exchange around great innovations of budding modernity under the nomenclatures of Impressionism and Fauvism.
For more than a century, from Monet to Jongking, from Lebourg to Delattre, from Marquet to Dufy, there were many encounters which bestowed on Normandy a landmark image of the joys of painting. The title of this collection states very well that it represents a late 19th century path across the phenomenal territory of shores and countryside which is Normandy. Inscribed in the continuity of Romantic naturalism and the meditative function of landscape, the paintings gathered here aim, among the influences of the countryside on painting, to feature those which are unknown, reserved, and sometimes secret, rather than those of the more spectacular, worldly, well-patronized sites.
Grey Impressionism from Corot to Boudin is revealed, followed by mother-of-pearl colourism by Signac in Louviers. The current presentation brings together a part of the works of the collection which are presented along a route which associates physique with topography and which, starting with the encounters at the Saint-Simeon Farm, lingers by the seashore and the notion of resorts, then follows the Seine and finishes inland, in the Norman heartland.
The collection, after having been exhibited in Estonia, Lithuania, and Belorussia, is presented in Grand-Quevilly, then Grenier à Sel in Honfleur. Furthermore, approximately fifty works will be visible in the permanent exhibition hall of the collection in the Conseil Régional de Basse-
Millet, à l’aube de l’Impressionnisme / Millet, at the Dawn of Impressionism
Venue: Normandie in Caen. Musée d’art Thomas-Henry, Cherbourg-Octeville
Dates:: June 18th – September 5th, 2010
A new look at the painter of Angelus, through fifty paintings and drawings, including major pictures such as The Church of Gréville, an Musée d’Orsay loan. Long before the Impressionists, for whom he opened new horizons, Jean-François Millet, child of the countryside, was the first to poeticize Cotentin with its dazzling wild panoramas which still can be seen by today’s rambler. Born in The Hague, near Cherbourg, in 1814, Millet never ceased depicting the paths of his childhood: the rocks of Castel Vendon; the coast, the Church of Gréville, the Vauville Valley, were so many places which haunted him and would constitute the common thread which unites his work. Neither his departure for Paris, nor his arrival in Barbizon in 1848, lessened this attachment:
Millet remained faithful to his native countryside. In his famous Sower, we are not looking at the plains of the Ile de France, but rather the rolling landscape of Gréville. Exceptional Loans from French and Foreign Museums The exhibition brings together a number of unique works mainly from the collections of the musée Thomas-Henry which owns the second most important French collection, after the musée d’Orsay, of works by the painter. It will present some of the collection of the artist’s drawings, rarely exhibited to the public because of their fragility. In addition these pieces will be complemented by exceptional loans by French and foreign museums: the Budapest Fine Arts Museum; Ohara (Japan) Art Museum; Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo (Netherlands); musée des Beaux-Arts,
Dijon. The Church of Gréville (1871 -1874), masterpiece of the musée d’Orsay, will return for this occasion to the vicinity of the places by which it was inspired. In all, approximately fifty paintings, drawings, and engravings will be presented. In the course of his route, the visitor will discover the increasing role played by the landscape in Millet’s work. Simple backdrop for his first paintings, it becomes in the 1860’s, a subject in itself.
The peasant scenes which made the artist famours give way to Nature void of all anecdote. The full art of landscape bursts forth in his ultimate creations, where earth and sea come together in search of a transcription of light and atmospheric effects.
This pictorial stroll in the wake of Millet will be enriched on weekends by a program of activities and lectures. Guided visits in French and English will be offered, as well as a discovery circuit intended for a family audience.
La Seine au fil des peintres : de Boudin à Vallotton / Painters along the Seine: from Boudin to Vallotton
Musée Poulain, Vernon
Dates: April 24th – July 25th, 2010
For the Impressionist Normandy Festival, the musée de Vernon, which is situated in a highly symbolic site for Impressionism on the banks of the Seine, has chosen to pay homage to the many talented painters who used the Seine as a subject of inspiration, but whose work and names are hardly known today despite the very high quality of their production. Either art history research has not yet advanced sufficiently or they were eclipsed by the notoriety of the most famous Impressionist painters. The exhibition will allow the public to discover less well known sites along the banks of the Seine where Impressionism was born. At the same time, one will be able to appreciate the rich diversity of landscapes in the Seine Valley between Mantes la Jolie and the estuary.
This exhibition features numerous little known and mainly unpublished paintings often relegated to storage in French regional and national museums, international museums, and private collections. A section will be devoted to graphic works. Furthermore, rarely exhibited works by famous artists will be included (Boudin, Signac, Vallotton, Luce, Friesz, Maufra). Other 19th century painters who are unknown or poorly known (Saint Delis, Gernez, Jourdain) will also be presented. An important place is given to the artists from the School of Rouen (Pinchon, Dellatre).
This event will be accompanied by a publication which will allow a new and richer look at numerous painters who strongly contributed to the elaboration of Seine Valley imagery and imagination.
Claude, Camille, Jacques-Emile, Eva et les autres… / Les Impressionnistes à Dieppe / Claude, Camille, Jacques-Emile, Eva and the Others.../ The Impressionists in Dieppe
Venue: Château-Musée, Dieppe
Dates: June 27th – September 26th, 2010
This exhibition and documentation retrace the relationship between the Impressionist artists and the sea in two different contexts: the city and the countryside. Two paintings by Camille Pissarro, present Impressionism in terms of its urban vision, that is, city/sea. Two other works by major artists (Monet, Renoir) evoke the encounter countryside/sea (Pourville, Varengeville, Berneval). The exhibition covers about fifteen works, including two important loans from Great Britain and the United States.
The exhibition will be accompanied by the publication of a catalogue of the museum’s Impressionist collections, as part of the series of catalogues on the permanent collections of the Château-Musée. A series of discovery guides are available on the main website of the Upper Normandy museums:
• Camille Pissarro: Saint James’ Church (1901), The Outer Harbour of Dieppe (1902)
• Auguste Renoir: Portrait de Mme Bérard (1879)
• Eugène Boudin: The Pollet Cliffs at Dieppe (1896)
• Eva Gonzalès: The Beach at Dieppe (c. 1871-72)
Numerous children’s workshops are planned at the Château-Musée. They will take place outside, with a view over the sea, so as to work on the idea of plein-air painting, light, and its variations.
Léon Riesener, 1808-1878, du Romantisme à l’Impressionnisme / Léon Riesener, 1808-1878, from Romanticism to Impressionism
Venue: Musée d’art et d’histoire, Lisieux
Dates: June 12th – October 18th, 2010
The musée de Lisieux own the largest public collection (pastels, drawings, oils on canvas, daguerrotypes) of Léon Riesener’s work. This exhibition, through the presentation of one hundred works from the museums’ collections, as well as from other French museums and from the descendants of the artist’s family, will demonstrate to what degree his oeuvre as it evolved may define Riesener as a precursor of Impressionism.
From childhood on, Léon Riesener frequented Normandy. He painted at Valmont Castle (Marine Impression, 1835) and along the Alabaster Coast, alongside his cousin Delacroix. His oeuvre is tinted with modernity in other ways as well. Very early on, he became interested in photography, as one can see in the Portrait of Eugène Delacrox, a daguerreotype made in 1842. In 1857, motivated by the need for new impressions and for solitude, Riesener bought a mill at Beuzeval, a community which later would become part of Houlgate.
There, the sight of nature itself which had always enchanted him made him forget Parisian worries and the injustice of the jury. There, Riesener first deepened his pursuit of coloris, which was for him, “the expression of visible things by the poetic effect which is imposed on them by light,”1 and then concentrated on the division of tones. “His sojourns in Beuzeval left us a whole series of the effects of the sun, of seascapes, of sunken paths, of landscapes in open nature. His sky studies, varying with the light, the hour, the time, resembled those painted by Boudin during the same period.” 2 The numerous artists who visited him transformed Riesener’s mill into an artistic coterie. He explored the steep coast with his friends Constant Troyon and Huet, discussed art and literature in the company of Jouvet, Delisle, and Jules Paton. Beuzeval was rented for two consecutive summers to the Morisot family. A very close friendship developed between the Morisots and the Rieseners.Riesener’s subjects and manner of painting interested young artists such as Berthe Morisot, Renoir, and Degas. At Riesener’s death, the Impressionists paid homage to this precursor of their art. "One can find evidence of realist tendencies in Riesener, but his sensitive nature made him prefer poetry to a brutal and moralising naturalism. Thus enchanted by the play of light and reflections that transformed substance, he inaugurated a new aesthetic which would make him one of the precursors of Impressionism" 3.(G.Viallefond, Le peintre Léon Riesener)
Sur les pas de Corot et de Millet: de l’époque Impressionniste à la Normandie contemporaine / In the Footsteps of Corot and Millet From the Impressionist Era to Contemporary Normandy
Venue: Musée des Beaux-Arts et Musée du Bocage normand, Saint-Lô
Dates: June 20th – October 3rd, 2010
This double exhibition brings to light the relationship between the inspiration of the sites and the people of Normandy, on the one hand, and the creation and influence of two great artists, on the other. Corot was tied to Normandy through his childhood friendships and his numerous sojourns from Tréport to the Mortainais, and especially in Saint-Lô. The works of Corot are placed in relation to other visions of the same subjects. Millet was a native of The Hague. He captured the peasant’s gesture and the rural landscape; his works are seen in relation to photographs of the rural world, most of them taken by Christian Malon. The latter also realized a photographic mission on Corot’s and Millet’s subjects. The exhibition will be accompanied by publications and multimedia.
The exhibition is developed with two museums of Saint-Lô: paintings and photographs at the musée des Beaux-Arts; photographs and period objects at the musée du Bocage normand.
Charles Léandre (1862-1934) et l’impressionnisme / Charles Léandre (1862-1934) and Impressionism
Venue: Musée de Condé-sur-Noireau, Espace Musée Charles Léandre
Dates: June 19th – September 19th, 2010
For more than fifteen years, the city of Condé-sur-Noireau has been exploring the universe of the artists of Lower Normandy. In 2007, the opening of a museum space dedicated to Charles Léandre, Montmartre painter and caricaturist, became the centrepiece of this cultural choice.
Summer 2010, with the advent of Impressionist Normandy, is the perfect occasion to look closely at landscapes by this talented Parisian Norman. Of course, Léandre was the master humorist of his time, the “Jordaens of caricature,” said Guillaume Apollinaire. But Léandre was also a painter, a beautiful painter, not only one of the best portraitists of the turn of the century Gilded Age, but also a landscape artist. Inspired by his native Norman countryside, this Montmartre painter by adoption who frequented all the painters of his time on that hill top, was not insensitive to other ways of painting, even those which appeared especially outrageous. One thus finds that genre scenes and landscapes by Léandre, who was a great colourist, can be easily called “Impressionist.” He more often suggests than enters into detail. The little painted pocket images which he handled like sketches, many of them produced at the end of his life in the vicinity of his native Champsecret, illustrate perfectly the theme of this exhibition. (Eric Lefèvre, specialist of the works of artists of Lower Normandy,and commissioner of the exhibition.)
Almost forty works distributed over the first two levels of galleries explore this theme. The exhibition presented in this space, which is known for its museography, is based first of all on the institution’s own Léandre collection (some 300 works of which 80 are exhibited permanently.) It also has widelydrawn on public (regional and national museums) and private collections. Many works come from those of enlightened amateurs who are members of the Friends of Charles Léandre Association. “It is always a pleasure to present these works because they are rarely or never available to the public,” emphasizes Pascal Allizard, Vice-President of the Conseil-Général of Calvados and Mayor of Condé-sur-Noireau.
While the fans of Charles Léandre will be delighted with this in-depth study of a little known aspect of his abundant production, members of the greater public in love with Impressionism (beyond this temporary exhibition) will discover the work of a terrific artist. They will be entirely won ov by his multiple talents, his technical mastery, and his tender sparkling vision.
Charles Léandre, Le Parc, Huile sur toile, collection espace musée, Condé-sur-Noireau. Crédit photographique : Schuller Graphic pour la Mairie de Condé-sur-Noireau
Venue: Musée de Louviers / Blanche Hoschedé-Monet, 1865-1947
Dates: June 5th – October 3rd, 2010
Landscapes and still lifes: a retrospective of about fifty paintings retracing the career of this Impressionist painter from Normandy. A great many artists, some of whom came from very distant horizons, congregated around Claude Monet to live in Giverny under the same light and surrounded by the same dramatic scenery.
Closer to Claude Monet, at the very heart of the family circle, Blanche Hoschedé-Monet’s experience was unique. Raised by Monet, in life as in painting, she then became his step-daughter – via the marriage of her mother to the painter – and next, his daughter-in-law, via her marriage to Monet’s oldest son. She received the lessons not that he gave, but which were communicated by the very fact of being near him on a daily basis.
Monet never formally taught Blanche painting. Nonetheless, she became a painter in her own right as a result of living with him. She became a painter in the purest Impressionist tradition which privileged landscape and still life paintings.
In the context of Impressionist Normandy, the idea of devoting a personal exhibition to Blanche Hoschedé-Monet at the musée de Louviers is in line with research on Norman painters which has developed over the years. This project is the result of fortuitous contact with Philippe Piquet, historian, teacher, art critic, independent exhibition curator, and most important for us, grandnephew of the artist.
De Daumier à Toulouse-Lautrec : le dessin de presse à l’époque impressionniste. 1863-1908 / From Daumier to Toulouse-Lautrec: Drawings for the Press during the Impressionist Era, 1863/1908
Venue: Technopôle du Madrillet, Insa de Rouen, Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray
Dates: June 5th – September 30th, 2010
It is well-known that Daumier and Toulouse-Lautrec were great draughtsmen for the press, but who knows that Renoir, Kupka, and Van Dongen also ventured into this domain? A drawing for the press is an original work especially conceived to be printed in a newspaper. It may be for a publication where drawing dominates the written word, as in l’Assiette au Beurre (The Butterplate), Le Rire (The Laugh), or it may be for daily, weekly, or monthly publications where drawing adds a personalized visual dimension to a political, social, or political event, and thus gives another approach besides text or photos. The press during the Impressionist era was flooded with drawings which acted as close-ups of the news presented – sometimes with humour when caricature was employed. Real “reporter drawings” also appeared, in the style of travel sketchbooks, on topics related to news or society. Drawings could illustrate literary texts or scholarly articles. Sometimes, they had no other purpose than to make the reader smile and the subject treated thus became “lighter”
L’Assiette au Beurre, Le Charivari, Le Journal illustré, Le Monde illustré, L’Evénement
illustré, La Lune, Le Petit journal pour rire, La Vie moderne, La Revue illustrée, Le
Mirliton, La Bataille syndicaliste, Les Hommes du jour, La Feuille, Le Courrier français,
La Cloche d’argent, Le Canard sauvage… These are all titles of Impressionist era newspapers. Some are still familiar to us. Others have disappeared. All contained press drawings and together, they give us a vision of society of the time; one could almost say a real “photograph.”
Via 150 original documents, visitors will be invited to plunge into history. They can plunge into Art History, of course, because from 1863, with Manet’s Déjeuner sur l’herbe, and the prelude to Impressionism, to 1908, with the invention of the term “Cubism” which described a new pictorial revolution, so much wealth and so many debates shook the art world and were drawn in the press! One passes from the Salon des Refusés in 1863 to the Fauve scandal in 1905, from Courbet’s realism to the Post-Impressionists, diverse art salons, Academism, Impressionism, and the artists’ difficult living conditions. One can plunge into History as well. Thus, the great events are rediscovered, from Napoleon III to the Third Republic, via events such as the Paris Commune, Zola, the Dreyfuss Affair, the right to strike, the 1870 war, colonization, and the Separation of Church and State. This history is also rich in terms of great economic, social, and societal evolution. One only need think of drawings documenting the rise of the industrialized city, the railroads, the digging of the Paris metro system (which was reported through drawings by Kupka), the beginnings of aviation, and metal constructions like the Eiffel Tower. The art of drawing for the press, its technical characteristics, and its evolution are emphasized. During the Impressionist era, advances in printing techniques entailed the evolution of press images from wood engraving and lithography to photographic and colour plates. This exhibition is also a means of letting a wide audience discover a little known art and to let drawing for the press be seen in terms of its real importance as part of our cultural heritage.
Jardins enchanteurs, jardins impressionnistes de l’École de Rouen / Enchanting Gardens, Impressionist Gardens of the School of Rouen
Venue: Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bernay
Dates: June 12th – October 3rd, 2010
For Impressionist Normandy, the musée de Bernay is featuring the theme of the garden. Next to the painter Ernest Quost and his work Fleurs du matin (Morning Flowers), c. 1885, with its atmosphere so characteristic of the Impressionists, are presented gardens by the painters of the Rouen School. These are exhibited for the first time at the musée de Bernay, thanks to the cooperation of the Association of Friends of the School of Rouen.
The paintings of Bernay native Magdeleine Hue appear beside those of Fréchon, Angrand, Pinchon, Delattre, Madelaine, Tirvert, Guilbert, and Niguet. The 35 works from private collections and museums in the region allow us to enter these enchanted gardens for the space of an Impressionist summer in Normandy.