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Renoir in the 20th Century
Essays by Roger Benjamin, Claudia Einecke, Guy Cogeval, Isabelle Gaëtan, Emmanuelle Héran, John House, Virgine Journiac, Martha Lucy, Laurence Madeline, Monique Nonne, and Sylvie PatryThe exhibition and catalogue are devoted to the glorious final three decades of Pierre-Auguste Renoir—the decades in which the painter turned away from Impressionism and toward a more decorative approach informed by his own idiosyncratic interpretation of art history. During this period, Renoir was initially looking at painters such as Rubens, Titian, and Raphael, and dedicating himself to cheery subjects such as bathers, domestic idylls and landscapes that were influenced by both classical mythology and by his relocation to the South of France. The thinly brushed color and blurry outlines in later works such as the Odalisques and the Bathers of 1918–19 (a picture that Renoir described as “a springboard for future research”), were much admired by an up-and-coming generation of avant-garde artists, who gravitated to their sensuality and to the fleshy richness of his nudes—qualities which have made his art so hugely popular and so widely reproduced. In the wealth of color illustrations in this book—which accompanies the major touring exhibition organized by the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, the Musée d'Orsay, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art—it is possible to see clearly the influence that Renoir had on younger artists such as Bonnard, Matisse, and Picasso, as well as how they received and studied his work. Along with Monet and Sisley, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) was a founder of the style that became known as Impressionism, and one of its most prolific members. Surviving most of his contemporaries, he lived to see his paintings hung at the Louvre alongside the old masters he so revered.