4th September 1883

Renoir arrived on Guernsey to paint

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the renowned French painter, spent just over a month on Guernsey. During this time he painted, or at least started, fifteen pictures of Moulin Huet.

Moulin Huet by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

There is evidence to suggest that some of the paintings were finished after he had returned to France. Renoir wrote of bringing back “documents for making pictures in Paris”, which are likely to have been either sketches or incomplete oil works.

Renoir’s visit

Although nobody knows precisely when he arrived, he wrote a letter from his lodging at 4 George Road, St Peter Port on 5 September 1883. In it, he described how he “watched Normandy disappearing” and stopped off in Jersey on the way to Guernsey.

He described Guernsey as having “superb rocks, beaches such as Robinson must have had on his island, as well as rump steak and ale at manageable prices”. It would appear he’d had a little time to explore before writing the letter. It’s therefore conceivable that he had arrived just one or two days earlier.

It’s perhaps not surprising that Renoir chose to visit Moulin Huet. The bay was already a popular location for artists of all kinds due to its particular light and the way it played on the rocks.

Renoir’s work

Renoir’s paintings of Guernsey took several years to sell but they have since been recognised as valuable masterpieces. One of them now hangs in the National Gallery in London.

In 1988 Guernsey Museum at Candie mounted an exhibition of Renoir’s paintings of the island. The museum itself considers it to be “probably the most successful exhibition ever mounted” there. The exhibition brought together six of the artist’s paintings, and was sponsored by the island’s tourism authorities.

 

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Other events that occured in September

Channel Television took to the air 1st
A Guernseyman cycled to Herm 2nd
Brecqhou was put up for sale 3rd
Renoir arrived on Guernsey to paint 4th
Ship sinks in St Sampson harbour 5th
The melon king died… long live the melon king 6th
Coronavirus returns to Guernsey 7th
HD Ferries makes its last crossing
6th Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment fought at the Somme 8th
Guernsey number plate sold for £240,000 9th
Guernsey hosted the second Island Games 10th
Major Guernsey employer Tektronix went public 11th
Guernsey was struck by a hurricane 12th
Schoolboys and teacher went missing off Sark 13th
Guernsey holidaymakers head home itching 14th
The title Baron de Saumarez was created 15th
Missing girl, Jetta, was found on Guernsey 16th
Archaeologists found a porpoise grave 17th
An Islander aircraft crashed in Guernsey 18th
Guernsey commando Hubert Nicolle died 19th
Guernsey and Jersey considered merging 20th
Occupation resister Winifred Green was deported 21st
The Devil’s Rock had its opening night 22nd
The Duke of Connaught visited Guernsey 23rd
Former bailiff Daniel de Lisle Brock died 24th
Occupation president Ambrose Sherwill died 25th
Trudy, Guernsey’s biggest ever import, was installed 26th
“Let em starve,” said Churchill 27th
A Guernsey planning dispute headed to Europe 28th
Herm tenant Major Peter Wood died 29th
Spotlight was broadcast for the first time 30th