Inspiring Scenery of Impressionism

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You will truly find your own inspiration in scenery that captured the hearts of Turner, Monet, Sisley and many others in the 19th century.

The breathtaking views, the unusual pearlized light and the stunning colors remain the same today.

Normandy was, for most artists, their birthplace and home. Its proximity to Paris together with the burgeoning number of fashionable seaside resorts like Dieppe, Honfleur, Le Havre, Deauville or Trouville, along its coast meant that artists came to the region by train and stayed, producing an artistic legacy which would be hard to rival anywhere.

Claude Monet’s water lilies in his house at Giverny

Breaking away from the more formalized and classical themes of the early part of the 19th century, the Impressionist painters preferred to paint outdoors, in natural light, and to concentrate on landscapes, towns and scenes of daily life.

Leader of the movement, and father of modern painting, Claude Monet is perhaps one of the best known Impressionists and certainly a major character in Normandy’s artistic heritage.

The Impressionist painters preferred to paint outdoors,
in natural light, catching colorful daily scenes

His house and gardens at Giverny, are one of the region’s major tourism sites, much visited for their beauty, water lilies, as well as for their importance to Monet’s artistic inspiration.

Normandy was at the heart of his creation, from the paintings of Rouen’s cathedral, to the famous depictions of the sunrise at Le Havre and the cliffs at Etretat, as well as the beach and port at Fécamp.

The cliffs of Etretat bathing in the dusk

Also a must see in Giverny is the American art museum, reflecting the American inspiration. Monet met Eugène Boudin and Jongkind in Honfleur, he mixed with artists such as Courbet, Corot, Sisley, Pissarro and Renoir and brought them to Honfleur to paint.

The river Seine also provided much inspiration to these painters whose new technique enabled them to depict the sparkling colors of moving water and the reflection of clouds and sky.

Further north, at the tip of the Manche County, the painter Millet produced several works which depicted the local church or scenes of peasants working in the fields.

While Monet’s work adorns galleries and collections all over the world, an impressive amount of Impressionist work is to be seen in galleries throughout Normandy.

Scenes of the ports of Normandy

The Malraux Museum in Le Havre is probably the best place to begin with one of the finest collection of impressionist paintings and the most complete exhibitions of art through the ages.

The Museum has now made additional space to show off its recent gift of the Senn Foulds Collection, one of the finest single collections of impressionist and fauvist art.

The Beaux Arts Museum in Rouen has long been considered one of the best provincial galleries in France while other excellent works can be seen in galleries in places such as Caen, Vernon, Château-Musée in Dieppe, Eugène Boudin Museum in Honfleur or the Montebello Villa in Trouville.


credits : Normandy Tourist Board

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