Culture & History | Experiences 27 September 2023

Islands & Impressionism - Exploring Renoir in Guernsey

In September 1883, Guernsey played host to and inspired one of the most legendary painters of the 19th century, Pierre-Auguste Renoir. 

A French artist and a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style and movement, Renoir was particularly interested in celebrating beauty.

He created 15 of his most famous paintings during his stay on Guernsey, the majority of which depict the views of Moulin Huet Bay from the cliffs above and on the beach itself. From the scenery to the children playing on the beach and the boats anchored out to sea, the landscape and area provided great inspiration for the painter.

This year we are celebrating 140 years since his visit with a series of exhibitions, events, hikes and more. 

Who was Renoir? 

Born in Limoges, France in 1841, Renoir began his artistic career working in porcelain and copying work at the Louvre.

Whilst working in the studio of Charles Gelyre in the 1860s, he met fellow artists Claude Monet, Frederic Bazille and Alfred Sisley. The group's work focused on a "sketchlike technique of broad, loose brushstrokes and [a] brightened palette" (Met Museum), and covered everyday subjects of contemporary life. With Monet, Renoir decided to form a new artistic society known as 'The Impressionists', who focused on capturing modern life. 

Even after he parted ways with the group in 1877, the influence on his style remained. 

Renoir's paintings of Guernsey from 1883 are some of his most famous works, and from 30th September - 17th December several will be being exhibited at the Guernsey Museum as part of the only Renoir exhibition in the world in 2023.

Renoir in Guernsey, 1883 Exhibition | 30th September - 17th December

This brand new experience by Art for Guernsey will celebrate the 140th anniversary of Renoir’s stay in Guernsey and the inspiration that he found on the Island. The exhibition is in partnership with the Guernsey Museums and the Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny and includes a host of major international loans, bringing Renoir’s work back to the Island on which it was painted.

The centrepiece of the event will be a fine art exhibition at Candie Museum, with other exhibitions and activities planned at the Priaulx Library, the Renoir Walk and Art for Guernsey’s gallery in the Old Quarter. These other events include:

  • Capturing Movement and Light - Visit local photographer Paul Chambers’ exhibition at the Art for Guernsey Gallery where he has challenged himself to capture the views that Renoir saw, using only photographic equipment that would have been available in the 19th Century.
  • The Public Photography Exhibition by Art for Guernsey - Islanders and visitors are invited to take up the same challenge as Paul Chambers, to capture on camera the views that Renoir saw, and to have their work exhibited at the gallery. Use the #RenoirSnaps on social media for the chance to have your work displayed.
  • The Renoir Walk - Head to Moulin Huet to explore the bays and landscapes that inspired Renoir's paintings.
  • A Day in 1883 at Priaulx Library - Explore a collection of engravings, photographs and documents recreating the atmosphere of the island at the time of Renoir’s visit.

The exhibition is kindly sponsored by Investec.

Explore Renoir's Guernsey 

During your visit to the Islands of Guernsey, you can walk in the footsteps of Renoir, visit the places he loved, be inspired by the same areas that he was and even take a step back in time and experience life on Guernsey at the time he visited. We have a huge variety of Renoir-themed exhibitions, walks, celebrations and more for you to explore.

The Renoir Walk | Open all year

Located in the Moulin Huet Valley on Guernsey's south coast, the Renoir Walk is a short, self-guided trail that takes visitors to locations Renoir painted during his time here in 1883.

The walk follows his footsteps around Moulin Huet Bay and is marked by five empty picture frames, which are placed in the exact spots he painted. The frames – specially commissioned to echo the ornate frames Renoir chose for his own artworks – allow viewers to see Moulin Huet from the same perspectives as the Frenchman did.

Renoir Tea Garden at Moulin Huet | Open daily - weather permitting

Get a taste of Renoir with great food and a view at the Renoir Tea Garden at Moulin Huet, a secluded cafe overlooking the bay below. They serve a range of delicious food, from local crab sandwiches, traditional Guernsey Bean Jar, salads, ice creams, cakes and more.

As well as serving food and drinks, you will also find art classes happening here, and they also offer services as a bespoke wedding venue.

Timewarp 2023: A Picnic with Renoir | Open daily

Renoir loved spending time at Moulin Huet and painted several views of the area, including the cottage near the beach which still stands today. We do not know if Renoir ever visited the cottage but we know Victor Hugo spent time there in 1859 and 1870. This little house is the inspiration for the 2023 Timewarp at the Guernsey Museum at Candie Gardens. There's lots of dressing up to enjoy for younger visitors and activities for all ages to get involved in, transporting you back in time to when Hugo would have visited the cottage.

Renoir Accommodation & Activities Offers  | 30th September - 17th December

To celebrate Renoir in Guernsey, 1883, many of our accommodation and travel providers have created special packages to allow you to you enjoy your visit for less and take part in Renoir-themed activities. 

  • Duke of Normandie - £150 per night with 3 course dinner and breakfast included. 
  • The Old Government House Hotel - 2-night stay including a French themed Afternoon Tea and tickets to the Renoir Exhibition. 
  • Camp de Rêves - During your stay receive a complimentary voucher for a crab lunch at the Renoir Garden Cafe. 
  • Le Friquet Hotel - 4-nights from £242 during the Renoir Exhibition.
  • Experience Guernsey Tours - Make your travel easy with flights, hotel, a guided walking tour and admission to the exhibition in one package from £548. 
  • Channel Islands Direct - Stay at the Best Western Moores, with flights included to make travel to the Renoir exhibition even easier. 

View all the offers here

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