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Celebrating 150 years of Impressionism in Normandy and Paris

2024 marks the 150th anniversary of Impressionism, the world-famous art movement, and Normandy and the Paris Region of France, where it all began, are celebrating this cultural landmark with no less than 200 exhibitions, events and unforgettable experiences.

On April 15th, 1874, a group of around thirty young, emerging painters organized their first collective exhibition at 35 Boulevard des Capucines in Paris. Denied entry to the official art salon, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and Paul Cézanne unveiled artworks that would profoundly alter the course of art history. This marked the birth of Impressionism, a movement that would redefine artistic expression.

Jardins_de_Claude_Monet__Giverny_-_Thomas_Le_Floc_H-Thomas_Le_Floc_H-24976-1600px_-_Copy.JPGJardins de Claude Monet, Giverny © Thoms Le Floc’H

The Impressionists were a group of freedom-seeking artists who decided to set up their easels out of doors to paint amidst the vibrant heart of Paris and along the Normandy coast. Impressionism has captivated the world ever since and, today, this celebrated art movement attracts millions of visitors annually to marvel at masterpieces in spectacular museums and to discover the exact locations that inspired the artists. Impressionism is inseparable from the landscapes of Normandy and the Paris Region and in 2024, visitors to these two regions can embark on an unparalleled Impressionist odyssey. 

Falaises_de_la_Cote_d_Albatre_-_Valentin_Pacaut_-_The_Explorers-The_Explorers_-_Valentin_Pacaut-21587-1600px_-_Copy.JPGCliffs of the Alabaster Coast in Normandy © Valentin Pacaut - The Explorers

One of the highlights of the 150th celebrations is Paris 1874: Inventing Impressionism, a ground-breaking exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, which seeks to trace the advent of an artistic movement that emerged in a rapidly changing world. Running until July 14th, the exhibition presents 130 works by Monet, Renoir, Degas, Morisot, Pissarro, Sisley, and Cézanne, alongside significant paintings and sculptures by artists who dominated the art scene at the time.

MuMa__musee_d_art_moderne_Andre-Malraux._Le_Havre_-_Marie-Anais_Thierry-Marie-Anais_Thierry-19082-1600px_-_Copy.JPGMuMa, André-Malraux Museum of Modern Art. Le Havre © Marie-Anaïs Thierry

Alongside this, in the Amont Gallery of the Musée d'Orsay, is Tonight with the Impressionists Paris 1874, an immersive virtual reality experience which takes visitors on a journey back in time to Paris 150 years ago to meet the artists and discover their paintings at the first ever Impressionist exhibition.

Dans_les_jardins_de_la_fondation_Claude_Monet__Giverny_-_Juliette_Becquart-Juliette_Becquart-23910-1600px_-_Copy.JPGIn the gardens of the Claude Monet Foundation, Giverny © Juliette Becquart

In Normandy, the Festival Normandie Impressionniste will see 150 events taking place in celebration of the 150th anniversary. From Caen to Rouen, Giverny to Le Havre and Cherbourg to Trouville, Festival Normandie Impressionniste is set to make waves throughout the region until September 22nd, 2024.

Experience_Normande__atelier_peinture__ferme_Saint-Simeon_-_Marie-Anais_Thierry-Marie-Anais_Thierry-23314-1600px_-_Copy.JPGNormandy Experience, painting workshop at Ferme Saint-Simeon © Marie-Anaïs Thierry

Cultural events featuring over 100 internationally acclaimed artists and companies will celebrate the spirit of artistic innovation through multidisciplinary projects. Whether held within Normandy's major cultural institutions or at unique venues like abandoned spaces, ice rinks, factories, ports, the festival will seek to show how Impressionism was born.

Experience_Normande___Croisiere_et_sejour_intimistes_sur_la_Seine__au_Moulin_de_Connelles_-_Danielle_Dumas-Danielle_DUMAS-23812-1600px_-_Copy.JPGNormandy Experience: Intimate cruise and stay on the Seine, at the Moulin de Connelles © Danielle Dumas

Highlights include David Hockney returning to canvas painting with a unique collection echoing Impressionist masterpieces at Rouen Museum of Fine Arts, and legendary American stage director Robert Wilson hosting a monumental audiovisual installation on the façade of Rouen Cathedral, tracing the footsteps of Claude Monet.

Musee_des_impressionnismes__Giverny_-_Danielle_Dumas-Danielle_DUMAS-19758-1600px_-_Copy.JPGMusée des Impressionnismes, Giverny © Danielle Dumas

Additionally, the 150 Flavours of Impressionism festival aims to promote local gastronomy with menus inspired by the creativity of painters on the tables of many Norman restaurants.

Musee_des_Beaux_Arts_de_Rouen__impressionnisme_-_Marie-Anais_Thierry-Marie-Anais_Thierry-20927-1600px_-_Copy.JPGRouen Museum of Fine Arts, Impressionism © Marie-Anaïs Thierry

Janet Redler, Managing Director of Janet Redler Travel, said: “Impressionism is one of the world’s most popular and influential art movements and this fabulous festival will celebrate the 150th anniversary in style. From the romantic vistas of Paris to the sublime landscapes of Normandy, this is the ideal opportunity to explore what inspired the artists, and to view the incredible paintings in many wonderful galleries.”

To find out more about the festival visit Voyages Impressionnistes and Normandy Tourism, and if you or your group would like to enjoy a tailor-made tour to Normandy and the Paris Region, please do contact our friendly team today.

All photos courtesy of Normandy Tourism

Tags: France  Normandy  Impressionism  

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