Discover Impressionist Art of Normandy Before Your Visit

Take a journey to Normandy via classic Impressionist paintings
Preview Lecture
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1 hour
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Lecture Description
The opening of train lines from Paris to France's northern coastal villages from the late 1840s to the 1860s gave rise to seaside vacations along the Channel. Fashionable Parisians, including Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Eugénie, frequented seaside resorts to bathe in the therapeutic saltwater, turning them into "the summer boulevard of Paris." Accordingly, many French painters moved away from depicting stormy maritime scenes, fishermen, and local peasant women to capturing the new breed of bathers flocking to the healing waters of such places as Trouville, Sainte-Adresse, Argenteuil, Berck, and Étretat. 
Meet Your Expert

Dr. Alison Bracker is an independent art historian specializing in modern and contemporary art. She taught art and cultural history at English universities before undertaking a post-doctoral fellowship in contemporary art conservation at the Royal College of Art and Victoria & Albert Museum. She then ran the Royal Academy of Arts' Events and Lectures Program, exploring the museum's exhibitions through celebrated speakers on culture, society, the arts, history, politics, food, fashion, and literature. Alison combines her passion for cultural history with her background in the travel industry. She began her career by developing European tours for major tour operators, has published travel articles, has advised international travelers as a destination expert online for nearly 20 years, and guides for Context. While continuing to lecture and publish on modern and contemporary art and artists, she is an enthusiastic traveler who loves street photography and immersing herself in cities via their art, food, and wine. After a childhood in Los Angeles and 25 years in England, Alison now lives in Nice, France.

This lecture traces the 19th-century French craze for summer beach holidays from early to late Impressionism. Eugène Boudin, whose paintings of the summer season were described in 1867 as "the first to have captured and preserved for us this piquant aspect of modern life," introduces us to Trouville. Other artists, including Edouard Manet, reveal the changes that tourism brought to coastal towns and contrast the worlds of resident fisherpeople and holidaymakers. Claude Monet highlights aspects of modernity in his paintings of Sainte-Adresse and Trouville, while Gustave Caillebotte portrays the commodification of Villers-sur-mer. 

Led by Dr. Alison Bracker, an expert on modern and contemporary art history, this lecture takes us back to 19th-century coastal Normandy to see how the Impressionists perceived its transformation over the decades. Designed to inform curiosity and future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of tourism's rise along the Channel coast and what the Impressionists gained from painting burgeoning seaside resorts and their fashionable visitors. 
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(5.0) 4 Reviews

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Fabulous talk! Thank you!
Never miss a chance to listen in on a lecture given by Dr. Alison Bracker. She presents everything with such distinctive style. You come away from a class with her feeling knowledgeable and passionate about a subject that was only of passing interest. This particular lecture tells a lesser-known impressionists (in addition to the famous Renoir) and the intersection of geography, history, and art. Spectacular.
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