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Celebrating the legacy of Impressionism, painting the artistic richness of the region and highlighting the impact of the Impressionist movement on contemporary culture: this has been the ambitious project of the Normandy Impressionist festival since its creation in 2010. Today, the festival is internationally renowned, making it one of the major events on the world art scene. For its 5th edition, echoing the 150th anniversary of the movement’s birth, a wide variety of events are scheduled in the region between March 22 and September 22, 2024: exhibitions, shows, conferences, installations… this year, Impressionism comes in many forms, enough to delight your pupils and even your taste buds!

What is Normandy Impressionist? And what are the highlights of the festival’s 2024 program? Follow the guide!

This article was produced in collaboration with Normandiy Impressionist

Impressionism celebrates 150 candles

150 years ago, the art world witnessed the birth of a revolutionary movement: Impressionism. Characterized by the rejection of academic techniques, the painters of this movement emphasized color and light and depicted scenes from everyday life.

Impressionism is a movement that has had a profound and indisputable impact on the history of art, and its worldwide influence continues to inspire many artists.

 An artistic movement born of mockery

One morning in November 1872, Claude Monet painted the port of his native Le Havre. The canvas depicts a simple moment: a sunrise reflected in the water, which he initially called “Vue du Havre” (View of Le Havre).

When Monet exhibited his work two years later, Renoir suggested another title: “Put impression.” – said Monet. Mocking the exhibition, art critic Louis Leroy used this title to entitle his article “L’exposition des impressionnistes”. It hit the nail on the head, and despite himself, Louis Leroy had just named a new artistic movement: Impressionism was born!


Normandy Impressionist: 150 events to celebrate its 150th anniversary

Since its creation in 2010, the Normandy Impressionist festival has been showcasing Normandy through the prism of art, while demonstrating the legacy of Impressionism in the contemporary art scene.

So, 150 years after its creation, what remains of the Impressionist spirit? To answer this question, 150 events are being organized throughout the 6 months of the festival, ranging from classic exhibitions to contemporary creations.

Les 150 ans de l’impressionnisme célébrés au festival Normandie impressionniste 1

 Impressionism, a movement more modern than it seems!

By taking their easels out of the studio, the Impressionists represented the beauty of nature. Today, nature and environmental issues are widely represented in contemporary art, in a style not so far removed from that of the painters of the late 19th century!

The 2024 edition will be punctuated by a number of highlights, including the Hockney exhibition at Rouen’s Musée des Beaux-Arts, the Bob Wilson screening at Rouen Cathedral and Laurent Grasso’s art installation at Jumièges Abbey. Below, we zoom in on some of the events!

Zao Wou-ki in the spotlight at Les Franciscaines de Deauville

From March 2 to May 26, Les Franciscaines de Deauville host the exhibition “Zao Wou-ki, Les allées d’un autre monde “. Of Chinese origin, Zao Wou-ki (1920-2013) moved to France at the age of 38 and became a naturalized French citizen in 1964. His works combine traditional Chinese inspiration with more modern Western influences. The artist uses a multitude of media and techniques: paintings, watercolors, inks, prints, tapestries, porcelain, steles and ceramics.

The exhibition’s scenography invites visitors to wander freely between the artist’s works. Among them is the majestic triptych created as a tribute to Claude Monet (1991).

Les 150 ans de l’impressionnisme célébrés au festival Normandie impressionniste 6
Zao Wou-Ki, Tribute to Claude Monet, 1991

Les Franciscaines, Deauville
 Dates: until May 26, 2024
 Opening hours: daily except Mondays, 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
 Admission: €13, students €5, under-16s free
 Website: https://lesfranciscaines.fr/fr

 Les Franciscaines: a living space rather than a museum

If you don’t know the Franciscaines yet, take advantage of the exhibition to explore the whole of this cultural venue. Here, you can work, read, watch a film, have lunch, enjoy a snack, doze, dance… it’s an extremely lively place where you’ll enjoy coming to (re)settle in for a few hours.

The heirs of Impressionism at the Villa du temps retrouvé

Head for Cabourg, where the Villa du temps retrouvé presents a selection of Impressionist heirlooms blended with its famous Belle Époque itinerary until September 22. Works from Normandy by Édouard Vuillard and the Storms series by artist Quayola – digital creations that are part of a contemporary reinterpretation of Impressionism – are included in the tour on the occasion of the 5th edition of the festival.

Villa du temps retrouvé, Cabourg
 Dates: until September 22, 2024
 Opening hours : daily except Tuesdays, 11am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm
 Admission: €9, €7 for students and over-65s, free for under-18s
 Website: https://villadutempsretrouve.com/

A virtual installation on Rouen’s ice rink

Normandy Impressionist also aims to bring art to places where it is least expected, and thus reach a new audience. Artist Miguel Chevalier has taken on a new space as a creative venue: an ice rink! He offers the public an interactive virtual work called “Digital ParadICE IA”: 12 projectors project 60 pictures whose shapes evolve according to the number and movements of the skaters! In addition to providing visitors with an immersive experience, they become an integral part of the work, turning their footsteps into brushstrokes on a vast virtual canvas.

Edith Ballester leisure rink, Rouen
 Dates: until May 3, 2024
 Opening times : opening times vary according to the school year, see the official rink website.
 Prices: admission to the rink, €5.4


When art becomes a delicacy: 150 flavors of Impressionism

As well as an artistic journey, the festival also includes a culinary voyage, bringing together 150 restaurants, bars and patisseries to showcase gastronomic creations inspired by Impressionism. From Michelin-starred restaurants to small village pizzerias, there’s something for every taste and every budget!

For example, the “À la dinette gourmande” restaurant in Belleme is offering “Le déjeuner des canotiers” inspired by a painting by Auguste Renoir; a “Fair in Normandy” cocktail inspired by the work of Camille Pissarro will be available in many bars and restaurants in the region, and a non-alcoholic “impression soleil levant” inspired by the work of Monet will also be on offer.

 Focus on the Saint-Siméon farm restaurant

“La Boucane”, the bistro on the Saint-Siméon farm, offers the “Menu de la Mère Toutain” for €48. This is a 4-course menu (starter, main course, cheeses, dessert) created as a tribute to the Toutain cook who served this meal to many Impressionist painters.

Les 150 ans de l’impressionnisme célébrés au festival Normandie impressionniste 14
Bistro La Boucane © La Ferme Saint-Siméon

Find out more about the Normandy Impressionist program

Numerous other events await you this year in Normandy. For the full festival program, visit https://www.normandie-impressionniste.fr/fr

Enjoy your visit! 😉


Article produced in collaboration with Normandy Impressionist

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