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A new day, a new colour

In the second half of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution and resulting disruptions were accompanied by a pictorial revolution: impressionism, modernity’s first avant-garde movement. In 1874, on a collective basis, around thirty artists, regularly rejected by Le Salon, decided to form a cooperative society to show their works in complete independence. They organised eight exhibitions before 1886, which shook up the history and world of art.

The impressionists’ shared interest lay in painting depictions of everyday life – such as the family circle, hobbies, work, growing industries and social transformations – leaving aside the academic ideals previously used. Furthermore, their treatment of colour gradually liberated it from the constraints of the subject, to the point of anticipating its disappearance in favour of a purely abstract aesthetic.

For its fourth edition, Normandie Impressionniste endeavours to reconsider the movement and show that it should not be limited to “clichéd” or idyllic visions of charming landscapes, but that it is a wholehearted “witness to its time”. As the impressionists did not restrict themselves to conveying subjects as accurately as possible, their feelings on – and depictions of – the
world were sensitive and intelligent, portraying subjects of human life and conditions in new ways.

While landscapes, in the broadest sense of the term, remained the basis of impressionism and provided artists with a setting in which to place their visions, they were still attentive to all the changes in society, representing the relationship between nature and the city, and work and leisure. They used innovative methods and working procedures that have fostered the
world of art and set a precedent over time. Thus, while striving to promote certain historical factors, Normandie Impressionniste has a duty to display the vibrancy of this movement to inspire contemporary creation.

Following the guidelines as defined for A new day, a new colour, Normandie Impressionniste is therefore offering, from one side of the region to the other, a multidisciplinary series of exhibitions, events and activities organised by a group of institutional structures, associations and private initiatives.

Philippe Piguet
General curator of Normandie Impressionniste 2020