Isabelle de Ganay was born in Rouen, France in 1960. Art and nature very quickly occupied a predominant place in her life. De Ganay discovered the same magic of the Normandy landscape that inspired the great artists of the French Schools of Impressionism, Rouen, and Normandy before her.
A naturally gifted painter, de Ganay was accepted into the famous l’École des Beaux-Arts de Rouen at the age of fifteen. This was a rare honor bestowed on someone so young, and she was quickly noticed by Albert Malet, the last impressionist painter of Rouen. A leader of the l’École de Rouen, Malet had been a student of Robert Antoine Pinchon and would become Isabelle’s mentor.
After graduating first in her class at the Académie Julian and l’École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, de Ganay returned to Rouen and began exhibiting throughout France. She was subsequently discovered by Wally Findlay Galleries, which began exhibiting her work in Chicago, New York, Palm Beach, East Hampton, and Beverly Hills.
The year 1986 was a turning point in the young career of de Ganay as well as in the leadership of the traditional l’École de Rouen. Albert Malet, who had always been aware of her gifts as a painter, designated de Ganay as his successor. Upon his death that year, she assumed his position and became Maître de l’École de Rouen, a position never held by a female artist.
L’École de Rouen was suddenly a school ahead of its time. From this point forward, a woman artist was now responsible for passing on the knowledge, technique, and practice of one of the oldest French schools of art. Thus, she followed the trailblazing steps of other female Impressionist artists like Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Marie Bracquemond, and Paule Gobillard.
“What I wish, above all, is to continue progressing. To be ever closer to nature and to better translate it onto canvas. One doesn’t impose oneself on a subject. It is futile to take up the brushes if you haven’t felt the emotional impact, which leads to creation. As for me, it is in nature that is born the irresistible desire to paint.” – Isabelle de Ganay
Like the previous masters, Isabelle de Ganay is a passionate disciple of plein air painting. The plein air practice created and championed by the Schools of Rouen and Normandy allows her to fully sense the changes in atmosphere and light, translating onto canvas the ephemeral moments of the changing landscape. Today, de Ganay continues to promote the Rouen tradition. The artist is often found alone or with her students, traveling the French countryside looking for the light to illuminate her canvases.
De Ganay has had numerous successful exhibitions worldwide. Her position as a member of the Société des Artistes Français and the presence of her works in prestigious collections across France and the rest of the world is affirmation of her continually expanding reputation as one of the most accomplished contemporary impressionists.
Findlay Galleries is honored to have represented Isabelle de Ganay exclusively for the past 27 years. We are proud to present a new collection of works by the uniquely talented and highly praised French artist.