Courbet and Monet, the masters of French painting, at the Kumu exhibition Painting in Normandy

15. October 2009

Today, the exhibition Painting in Normandy opens in wing B on the third floor of the Kumu Art Museum, and will bring to Estonian museum-goers 60 paintings from artists whose life and work have been closely linked to the Normandy region

Alain Tapié, chief curator of the Museum of Fine Arts of Lille, has put together a selection that includes the world-famous artists Théodore Géricault, Gustave Courbet, Eugène Bo udin, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Charles Daubigny, Johan Barthold Jongkind, Claude Monet, Edouard Vuillard, Albert Marquet, Raoul Dufy and several wonderful painters of Normandian origin. The exhibition has been compiled on the basis of the collection created on the initiative of the Regional Council of Lower Normandy area in France. The state of Estonia will be represented at the opening of the exhibition by the Minister of Culture, Laine Jänes. The exhibition will remain open until 10 January 2010.

Press photos can be found in the digital archives of the Art Museum of Estonia at

 The exhibition is accompanied by the film programme The Sources of Impressionism, showing the following documentaries in the Kumu auditorium during the month of November: Gustave Courbet, the Origin of His World (2007, director Romain Coupil), Dutch Light (2004, directors Pieter-Rim de Kroon and Maarten de Kroon) and Impressionnisme: les origines (1994, director Jean-Paul Fargier).

Normandy holds a significant position in the history of modern art. In the beginning of the 19th century, the region became a place of interest for artists whose work heralded the birth of modern art – Impressionism and Fauvism. Normandy was the meeting point of the best French landscape painters. Inspired by the local landscape, reflections of light and shimmering air, the artists tried to express universal truths through captivating, fleeting impressions. To create, one had to paint en plein air, to explore the sparkles on the coastal waters and the hues of inland Normandy, the sea and the sky. The artists searched for sources of creative inspiration from Trouville and Dieppe, Ėtretat and Rouen, Le Havre and the banks of the Seine. In the paintings carried out in these same locations and under the very eyes of the observer – Impressionism is born.

 The display and organisation of the exhibition in Estonia was supported by the Regional Council of Lower Normandy, the Embassy of the French Republic and French Culture Centre in Tallinn, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Estonia, and the organisation Les Flux des Arts.

 President of the collection Painting in Normandy: Alain Tourret, Vice-President of the Regional Council of Lower Normandy

General Commissioner and director of the collection: Alain Tapié, chief curator of the Museum of Fine Arts of Lille

 The major sponsor of the exhibition is Swedbank.

 After appearing in the Kumu Art Museum, the exhibition will be displayed in the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga and in the Belorussian National Gallery of Art in Minsk.

 Curator of the exhibition in the Kumu Art Museum: Tiina Abel

 In connection with the exhibition Painting in Normandy, a catalogue (by Alain Tapié, Ragne Nukk and Tiina Abel) with texts in Estonian and English, and with reproductions of the works of art displayed at the exhibition, will be published. The catalogue is designed by Külli Kaats.