On view from Feb. 21 to May 23, 2010 the Dallas Museum of Art will present a landmark exhibition exploring the influential and profound relationship between photographers and painters who lived and worked along the Normandy coast of France during the mid-19th century.

The Lens of Impres-sionism: Photogra-phy and Painting Along the Normandy Coast, 1850-1874 reveals how the convergence of social, technological and commercial forces within the region affected artistic production and dramatically transformed the course of photography, impressionism and modern painting.

The exhibition will feature more than 100 works, including vintage prints, paintings, pastels and watercolors by artists and photographers including Gustav Courbet, Edgar Degas, Gustave Le Grey and Claude Monet.

“The Lens of Impressionism provides a wonderful opportunity to connect visitors with masterpieces by some of the greatest impressionist artists, including Monet and degas, and also offer insight and exposure to their colleagues, the pioneers of the art of photography,” said Bonnie Pitman, the Eugene McDermott director of the Dallas Museum of Art.

“ The presentation at the DMA is enhanced by our forthcoming collection Coastlines, which will further explore the theme, as well as in our own collection of impressionist works, from the Wendy and Emery reeves Collection, which this year celebrates its 25th year as part of the DMA.”

The exhibition will showcase paintings, photographs, and drawings by some of the most treasured artists in the world. Inspired by the scenic Normandy coast of France, these works include representations of beach scenes, landscapes, fishing villages, resorts and the region’s pastoral beauty.

Archival materials related to early tourism will also be included in the exhibition to provide an innovative examination of the impact of the then new medium of photography on ideas of image making, the recording of passing time, the capacities of painting and the rise of impressionism itself.

“The Lens of Impressionism presents new insight into and scholarship on the response of impressionist painters to early photography within the context of a single geographic locale,” said Heather MacDonald, the Lillian and James H. Clark Associate Curator of European Art at the DMA and the coordinating curator for the exhibition.

“The work that was developed in the second half of the 19th century in the Normandy coast – a region that was intensely explored and celebrated by artists during this time – tells a revealing story about the cross-pollination of ideas between the emerging impressionist art movement and the new field of photography,” MacDonald said.

In addition to classes and workshops, gallery talks and tours, the DMA will launch its newly expanded smart phone tour, providing visitors with a new way to experience its collections and special exhibits.

The smart phone tour allows interaction with and learning more about the art on display in the galleries from their own Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices or on loaned iPod Touches available free from the visitor service desks.

Visitors can view portraits of the artists featured while listening to brief artists biographies, discovering other works, exploring maps, and period images pinpointing the location in Normandy pictured in various works on view.

Located in the vibrant Arts District of downtown Dallas, the Dallas Museum of Art ranks among the leading art institutions in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and groundbreaking educational programs. Established in 1903, the Museum welcomes more than 6,000,000 visitors annually.