The Lens of Impressionism.
Photography and Painting on the Normandy Coast, 1850-1874.
By Sylvie Aubenas, Stephen Bann, Dominique de Font-Reaulx, Carole McNamara et al.
Hudson Hills Press, 2009. 208 pp., 130 color illustrations, 9½x12".
The Normandy Coast, with its craggy coastline and medieval fishing villages, has long captured the interest of artists. Its seascapes are featured in the work of Impressionist masters Monet,Manet, and Boudin. Its seafaring life is well documented in the work of such writers as Victor Hugo and Guy de Maupassant.
Through a stunning selection of paintings, photographs, and drawings, The Lens of Impressionism argues that a unique convergence of forces—social, artistic, technological, and commercial—along the Normandy coast profoundly impacted the development of early Impressionism and made Normandy a nexus for photographers and the avant-garde painters of the later nineteenth century. As author Carole McNamara writes, “Impressionist painting has always endeavored to convey motion, but new possibilities and solutions were presented by photography . . . if painters were to continue to create works that had relevance to modern audiences, then the expression of time—of ‘instantaneity’—would become an increasingly important consideration in their own work.”