Art for Guernsey is delighted to announce a one-off Renoir exhibition on Guernsey, in celebration of the 140th anniversary of Pierre-Auguste Renoir's important stay on the second largest of the Channel Islands.
In partnership with the Guernsey Museums and the Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny, Art for Guernsey has brought together a collection of Renoir's works painted during his stay in September 1883 and for the first time ever will show them in the locations they depict.
The project has been curated by Art for Guernsey's Founder, David Ummels, who in conjunction with a series of generous museums, benefactors and private collectors, has made the exhibition possible.
In September 1883 Renoir made the trip to Guernsey, staying for just over a month and producing 15 landscape paintings. He was fascinated by the way the light interacted with the natural environment, the crystal-clear waters and steep topography and the island inhabitants who bathed freely amongst the rocks, inspiring him and ultimately creating fundamental shifts in his work.
The project's long journey began when Art for Guernsey curated the Renoir Walk in 2019. This now-permanent fixture is a self-guided, alfresco exhibition framing the scenes that Renoir painted in one of Guernsey's most captivating bays; Moulin Huet. Inaugurated by Cyrille Sciama, Director of the Musée des Impressionnismes, the Renoir Walk launch gave an opportunity for Sciama to explain the influence Guernsey had on Renoir at the end of his Impressionist period and the island's role in supporting his shift towards painting nudes in landscapes.
In 2020 Art for Guernsey successfully arranged for the syndication and acquisition of one of Renoir's Guernsey masterpieces 'Rochers de Guernesey avec personnages' (plage à Guernesey). Considered one of the best works from his time on the island and one of only five still in private hands local collectors were resolved to bring this piece back to the island opening further doors for collaborating and beginning the process resulting in the Renoir in Guernsey,1883 exhibition.
The centrepiece of the event will be a fine art exhibition at Candie Museum showcasing his works, with other exhibitions and activities planned across the island.
Since September 2022 pupils at 13 primary schools on the island have been engaged in a cultural enrichment programme using Renoir's works as inspiration for their own art. The children's works will subsequently be displayed and celebrated at AFG Gallery on the island.
Other initiatives include local photographer, Paul Chambers, taking up the challenge to capture the infamous light depicted in Renoir's work using photographic equipment from 1883. Chambers' aim is to test Renoir's theory that the emerging medium of photography could never match the medium of painting for capturing the movement of light. Budding photographers can also rise to this challenge and have the chance to exhibit their work alongside that of Paul Chambers in an exhibition.
Art for Guernsey's hope and ambition is that the ten-week exhibition and initiatives will result in the role Guernsey played in Renoir's career being fully acknowledged, illustrated and celebrated.
Cyrille Sciama, Director of the Musée des Impressionnismes, quotes “I am very happy to see this dream of Renoir in Guernsey come true. It is such a joy to bring back the works to where they were painted!”
“We are delighted to be the home of this exhibition for nearly three months” notes Helen Glencross, Head of Heritage Services for the States of Guernsey. “The rarity of this exhibition coming to fruition is a testament to the immense efforts that have taken place behind the scenes, and we cannot wait for the public to enjoy it first-hand.”
David Ummels Founder of Art for Guernsey, quotes “This is an unparalleled event for such a small island. To reunite these masterpieces, painted on Guernsey, and gathered here from across the globe is truly monumental. We are looking forward to welcoming many visitors to the exhibition and to the Islands of Guernsey, where they can experience the unique light and scenery that so inspired Renoir.”