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Normandy Art Festival 2013: ‘The Climax of Impressionism’
In 1872, Claude Monet painted "Impression, Sunrise" (above) depicting the early morning fog in Le Havre’s harbor on Normandy’s coast, about 2½ hours north of Paris. Sunrise gave birth to Impressionism. Following a successful debut in 2010, the second Impressionist Normandy Festival will celebrate the romantic art movement from April 27 to September 29. The Rouen Museum of Fine Arts in the medieval town of Rouen, located midway between Le Havre and Paris, will be the festival’s HQ. During the event, the museum will display some of the world’s greatest Monets on loan from around the globe. Just down the road at Monet’s former home in Giverny, some 50+ important paintings will be on temporary view by Monet, Manet, Matisse, Renoir, van Gogh and friends. In 2009, I did a pre-festival tour starting with Rouen Tourism’s office facing the 13th century Rouen Cathedral. In 1892/93, Monet painted the church 30 times, often from this office, during various times of day. Art critics call the paintings “The Climax of Impressionism,” the last one of which sold for $24 million in 2000. During the festival, art professors teach 2-hour painting classes in the same places where Monet worked. That ranges from the cathedral plaza to a hilly plateau in the countryside overlooking the city, where Monet painted his famous "Vue de Rouen." Scheduled painting classes include a long lunch "en plein air" with chilled beaujolais, crunchy bread and soft brie in the oyster colored light.
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