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Exhibitions

Impressionism and contemporary art meet for festival in northern France

Around 50 contemporary artists will feature in Normandie Impressionniste, shedding new light on one of art history’s major movements

Pierre-Auguste Renoir's In Summer (1868) will be on show at the Musée des Beaux-arts de Rouen © BPK, Berlin, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais, Jörg P. Anders

The Normandie Impressionniste festival celebrates its ten-year anniversary this year having twice been delayed. Launched as a triennial, it had to be postponed last year so as not to overlap with a gathering of sailing boats called Armada de Rouen, and it was postponed again this year, from its original opening date in April, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The festival, which organisers have now had to call “an event” due to restrictions on holding festivals, opens this weekend across 200 venues in northern France with exhibitions, concerts and performances.

Unlike previous editions, this year’s programme is not themed but its title A New Day, a New Colour is evocative. “Under this title, we give you Impressionism like you have never seen before”, says Philippe Piguet, the general curator of Normandie Impressionniste, who is also Claude Monet’s great-grandson by marriage. Carte blanche has been given to around 50 artists, such as Claire Tabouret and Fabrice Hyber, both showing work in Rouen, and Flora Moscovici showing in Maromme.

One of the highlights of the festival will be the very first exhibition devoted to the collection of the French industrialist and coal tycoon François Depeaux. The collection of 600 paintings includes works by Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley, and will be on show at the Musée des Beaux-arts de Rouen (11 July-15 November).

Normandie Impressionniste, various venues in northern France, 4 July -11 November