English painters in the 1820s began the fashion for painting in the open air, taken up by French artists who found the Normandy landscape a fertile source of topographical and atmospheric motifs.

Throughout the nineteenth century, as painters left the studio in order to capture the effects of natural light, this genre quickly developed, embodied in the virtuosity and lightness of touch of the great Impressionist masters, who criss-crossed the countryside of Normandy, including Claude Monet and Berthe Morisot, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin and Camille Pissarro.

Brought together for this exhibition, “L’Atelier en plein air, les impressionnistes en Normandie” [The open-air studio, the Impressionists in Normandy], all the works chosen, from prestigious North American and European collections, as well as private collections, retrace the steps of a pictorial revolution, appropriate to its time, translating the dynamic of landscapes and people into paint.

This catalogue is the work of Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts and Jacques-Sylvain Klein, curators of the exhibition, and it examines the essential stages of the movement, while also emphasising the influence of the English model in the birth of a French school of landscape painting, identifying Normandy as a key location in the emergence of Impressionism.