France Celebrates 150 Years of Impressionism with Exhibitions Throughout the Country!

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Adore Goodenough - hariboisverygood / Unplash
© Adore Goodenough - hariboisverygood / Unplash

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 21 March 2024

This Spring, France will celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the first Impressionist exhibition. To mark this historic date, the Musée d'Orsay is lending its works to some thirty museums across France and its Overseas territories, in addition to organizing a series of original exhibitions. Here are some key must-see events including the Normandy Impressionist Festival, which promises to be particularly rich for the 2024 celebration.

1/ Experience the beginnings of Impressionism in Paris

GEDEON Experiences, Excurio, Musée d’Orsay
© GEDEON Experiences, Excurio, Musée d’Orsay

The exhibition Paris 1874: Inventing Impressionism allows visitors to rediscover a selection of works from the 1874 exhibition and to understand the radical nature of this movement at the time.

*26 March - 14 July 2024 at the Musée d'Orsay.

Stay at the Orsay and discover «An Evening with the Impressionists. Paris 1874». This brand new immersive expedition takes you on a one-hour tour. Wearing a virtual reality headset, you'll be transported 150 years back in time to Paris for the opening of the first Impressionist exhibition...

*26 March - 11 August 2024 at the Musée d'Orsay.

2/ Combine Impressionism and photography in Le Havre

The aim of the exhibition 'Photography in Normandy (1840-1890): A Pioneering Dialogue between the Arts' is to highlight the region's crucial role in the early days of photography. Click-Clack!

*25 May - 22 September 2024 at the MuMa - Musée d'art moderne André Malraux *.

In Normandy, the programme will be particularly rich thanks to the Normandie Impressionniste Festival, the 5th edition of which will take place from 22 March to 22 September 2024.

3/ Use nature as a model in Tourcoing

Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt / Auguste Renoir
© Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt / Auguste Renoir

"Nature as Model", an ambitious exhibition on the theme of Impressionist landscapes, brings together for the first time in the region 57 masterpieces from national collections by Monet, Sisley, Renoir, Pissarro and Cézanne. The exhibition explores the birth of the Impressionist landscape in five fascinating sections.

*16 March - 24 June 2024 at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tourcoing.

4/ Decoding modernity in Strasbourg

With the exhibition "Sensations and Impressions", discover how Impressionism and Post-Impressionism contributed to the construction of modernity, through works by Sisley, Monet, Signac and Kandinsky.

*19 March - 15 December 2024 at the Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain in Strasbourg.

5/ Enjoy the "Snow" in Clermont-Ferrand

Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt / Claude Monet
© Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt / Claude Monet

The climate is warmer, the snow rarer and more precious. And the Impressionist painters were the first to reveal its wonderful character with such talent. Here, Monet's "The Magpie" is highly representative of the Impressionist way of painting snow. Thrills guaranteed.

8 March - 30 June 2024 at the Musée d'art Roger-Quilliot.

6/ Rediscover the Water Lilies in Chartres and Ajaccio

Claude Monet's "Bassin aux nymphéas, harmonie verte", on loan to the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Chartres, will enrich the thematic exhibition of landscapes from the 17th to the 20th century.

*16 March - 16 June 2024 at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Chartres.

In Ajaccio, Monet's "Bassin aux nymphéas, harmonie rose" will be exhibited in dialogue with a contemporary work by Fabrice Hyber exploring the challenge of climate change.

*1 March - 7 June 2024 at the Palais Fesch - Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Ajaccio.

7/ Take a break on the Riviera with Berthe Morizot, in Nice

RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay) / Tony Querrec / Berthe Morisot
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay) / Tony Querrec / Berthe Morisot

The exhibition "Berthe Morisot à Nice, escales impressionnistes" highlights the impact that Morizot's stays on the Côte d'Azur had on her work, particularly in relation to those produced by Renoir and Monet, as well as her peers present on the Mediterranean during the same period.

5 April - 29 September 2024 at the Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules Chéret in Nice.

8/ Star gazing with Van Gogh in Arles

«Van Gogh and the Stars» explores the literary and scientific context of the second half of the 19th century. The exceptional loan of van Gogh's "Starry Night over the Rhône" also provides an opportunity to understand the influences of the artist with the severed ear.

1 June - 25 August 2024 at the Vincent van Gogh Foundation in Arles.

9/ Admire the open sea with Caillebotte, in Nantes

Musée d’Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Sophie Crépy / Gustave Caillebotte
© Musée d’Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Sophie Crépy / Gustave Caillebotte

In Nantes, Gustave Caillebotte's "Partie de bateau" is on display in a room showcasing "aquatic" landscape painting around the time of Impressionism. See how the light reflects off the water and brings the marine scenes to life!

*23 March - 23 June 2024 at the Musée d'arts de Nantes *

10/ Get back to basics with Manet, in Montpellier

In Montpellier, the Musée Fabre will be welcoming two masterpieces by Edouard Manet in 2024: "Le Fifre" and "Portrait d'Emile Zola". These exceptional loans from the Musée d'Orsay will provide an opportunity to evoke the beginnings of Impressionism, focusing on the central figure of Manet.

26 February - 3 June 2024 at the Musée Fabre in Montpellier.

11/ Meet two Impressionist masters in Bordeaux

Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt / Édouard Manet
© Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt / Édouard Manet

The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux is taking part in the national celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the first Impressionist exhibition with two great masterpieces: "Le Balcon" by Édouard Manet and "La Cabane des douaniers" by Claude Monet.

6 March - 10 June 2024 at the Bordeaux Museum of Fine Arts.

12/ Discover the life of collector Anna Boch, in Pont-Aven

The Musée de Pont-Aven is celebrating 150 years of Impressionism and 175 years since the birth of Anna Boch. The exhibition "Anna Boch, an impressionist journey" highlights the life of this independent collector. For the occasion, the museum has been loaned Van Gogh's "Portrait of Eugène Boch", which will be displayed in the exhibition alongside a portrait by Émile Bernard.

3 February - 26 May 2024 at the Musée de Pont-Aven.

13/ A unique encounter with Cézanne, on Réunion Island

The Musée Léon-Dierx is celebrating 150 years of Impressionism in the Indian Ocean with "La Table de cuisine" and "Nature morte au tiroir ouvert", two paintings by Paul Cézanne never before shown on Réunion Island.

*19 February - 23 June 2024 musée Léon-Dierx in Saint-Denis de La Réunion. *

Interested in exploring additional exhibits?

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You can also visit the Musée Ingres Bourdelle in Albi, the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen, the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Orléans, the Musée Baron Gérard in Bayeux and the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Limoges...

By Marie Raymond

As a tourism and culture journalist, Marie has a real weakness: writing anywhere, but especially not in an office. She's inspired by the spirit of the times and by what's on the move.