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The Draw of the Normandy Coast opens this summer at the Portland Museum of Art
Claude Monet (France, 1840 - 1926), On the Cliff at Pourville, Clear Weather, 1882. Oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 31 3/4 inches. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Bequest of Janice H. Levin, 1991. The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA /Art Resource, NY.

PORTLAND, ME.- This summer, the Portland Museum of Art will present the exhibition The Draw of the Normandy Coast (1860-1960), on view June 14 through September 3, 2012. This exhibition will focus on the impressive Normandy coast which proved to be an artistic crucible for European and American artists during the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. Geographically convenient to Paris, accessible by train, with dramatic cliffs and rock formations, and picturesque and active ports, Normandy was an attractive haven. Realists, Impressionists, Neo-Impressionists, Fauves, Cubists, and Surrealists all gravitated to the area, including Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, and Pablo Picasso. The Draw of the Normandy Coast (1860-1960) will chart the coast’s significance and showcase the ways in which the landscape was rendered by a spectrum of artists.

The Draw of the Normandy Coast (1860-1960) was inspired by the masterful painting by Claude Monet, La Manneporte Vue en Aval (The Manneporte Seen from Below) (ca. 1884). This powerful landscape is part of the Scott M. Black Collection and is currently on long-term loan to the Portland Museum of Art. The Manneporte, the dramatic arch at Étretat, was the focus of one of Monet’s most significant painting campaigns in Normandy. Monet’s painting is one of several magnificent works from the Scott M. Black Collection that will be showcased in the exhibition. The exhibition will also include a carefully selected group of masterworks from the Museum’s permanent holdings by European and American artists, including Samuel Colman’s Cliffs at Étretat (ca. 1873), a work on paper acquired by the Museum in 2009 with the support of the Friends of the Collection.

The exhibition is greatly enhanced by generous loans not only from collegial institutions across Maine, including Bowdoin College Museum of Art, but also by special loans from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Tennessee, among other collaborating private collectors and museums. Chefs d’oeuvres including Félix Vallotton’s Vuillard Drawing at Honfleur (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts), George Inness’ Étretat (Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford), and Gustave Courbet’s M. Nodler, the Elder at Trouville (Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton) will grace the galleries of the Museum this summer.

The Draw of the Normandy Coast (1860-1960) follows in the tradition of the summer 2009 Museum’s exhibition Call of the Coast. Just as Call of the Coast studied the attraction of the Maine coast for countless American artists as well as explored the art colonies of New England, The Draw of the Normandy Coast (1860-1960) will examine the importance of the towns and villages of Honfleur and Le Havre, and such unique destinations as Étretat.

The exhibition is curated by Margaret Burgess, the Susan Donnell and Harry W. Konkel Associate Curator of European Art at the Portland Museum of Art.

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