Updated on 22 January 2021
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From the precursors of Impressionism like Turner, Millet and Boudin, and Impressionists like Monet and Pissarro, to present-day painters, Normandy has long welcomed artists in their droves, come to capture its beautiful landscapes and seascapes, changeable weather and ephemeral light.
For over 40 years, Claude Monet tended to his gardens at his home in Giverny to furnish his artistic ideas and produce some of his greatest works of art. Over 300 paintings were dedicated to the theme of water lilies alone.
The Impressionists also took a shine to Rouen, the capital of Normandy painting the city and the River Seine, from the coast all the way to St Catherine’s Hill in Bonsecours. Rouen Cathedral was the subject of Monet’s famous series of 30 canvases, all painted at different times of day and in different light conditions.
Monet’s 1872 painting Impression, sunrise was the canvas that gave its name to the Impressionist art movement. Le Havre was where it all started in a sense, and would go on to be the subject of many paintings by artists such as Camille Pissarro and Raoul Dufy.
In the 1820s, Honfleur was already attracting artists working in the romantic tradition. In 1860, Boudin, who hailed from the town, began to gather around him his painter friends at the Ferme Saint-Siméon on the hill just outside Honfleur, from which where they would paint the Seine estuary. These artists included Monet, Johan Jongkind and Gustave Courbet.