Behind the scenes of impressionism

Behind the scenes of Impressionism, temporary exhibition 0001_2_0_0 April 16th-September 26th 2016 Fine Arts Museum of Rouen, Esplanade Marcel Duchamp, 76000 Rouen Phone: 0(0 33) 2 35 71 28 40 Open every day from 10am to 6pm, except national holidays            

In the context of the 3rd edition of the Impressionist Normandy Festival, a temporary exhibition is taking place for a few months in Rouen’s Fine Arts Museum.

It is well known that Normandy and Impressionism are very closely tied. Normandy has been the stage of some of the most important moments of Impressionism. With countless hours spent by Manet, Monet, Morisot, Renoir, Bazille, Sisley, Pissarro and others painting the countryside and seascapes of this region, it can be considered like a birthplace of the movement.

And what to say about Rouen! The city is where Monet held his first exhibition in a museum in 1872. Its cathedral is well known for its architecture and Monet’s series of paintings of its west portal. The town’s center has one of the most well preserved ensembles of medieval city blocks in Europe. It is also where Joan of Arc met her tragic fate during the 100 Years War. In a few words, the city’s historical importance is well established. In terms of art, the Museum of Fine Arts of Rouen holds a permanent collection of Impressionist painting. Those are all many good reasons to go visit the city. But here is one more: a temporary exhibition presenting a compilation of masterworks from museums around the world.


Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet reading, 1872


   Claude Monet, Medittion Mrs Monet sitting on a sofa, 1871

Most of us associate Impressionism with landscapes.  But we often forget the private dimension of their art. The themes of the Scenes of Impressionist Life exhibition are portraits and interiors, with a compilation of a hundred paintings or so. It also includes drawings, some sculpture, and even a dress! Attention is focused on women on the one hand, as wives or models, and on children for the other. Friendships of the artists can be seen through portraits of the painters by their peers. This intimate approach reflects elements of family and everyday scenery, with a deep sense of realism. 



Edouard Manet, The Reading, 1865


Gustave Caillebotte, In a cafe, 1880

A major interest of this exhibition is the opportunity to behold the modern aspect of these men and women in their depiction of a contemporary world, in depictions which confirm a rupture, away from classical forms, standards and themes, and a desire to relate to the audience through daily elements such as family, femininity or friendship. These paintings of the painters’ loved ones are a testimony to their sensitivity. They also convey elements of their lifestyle, social environment and personal esthetics. They help us grasp the reality of everyday life and activities in a rapidly-evolving society. Apart from many of the major names of Impressionism, the exhibition also includes works of less famous yet great artists such as Abbema, Bartholomé, Cassat, Scholderer or Zandomeneghi. Available up to September 2016.


  Schoderer, Young girl reading a letter, 1873


  Cassat, Woman with a pearl necklace in a loge, 1878




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