Renoir and His Circle: Works from an Intimate Collection
May 8 - July 11, 2004
Renoir's art is most associated with Impressionism and the depiction of modern French life. Considered a seminal figure in French Impressionism, the young Renoir shared in the development of contemporary painting alongside Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissaro, Frédéric Bazille, and others. They met in Parisian cafes to exchange ideas and expound opinions in competition and in fraternity. One such place famously associated with their gatherings was the Café Guerbois. The friendships Renoir made here proved meaningful and lasted throughout his life.
Renoir's early Bohemian lifestyle yielded to the earnest pursuit of a self-supporting career. Classic nudes and portraits increasingly captured his attention, and commissions offered by supportive friends sustained him at mid-career. Critical recognition and financial success for his early Impressionist work came much later. This belated, international celebrity generated an active interest in the breadth of his production and secured an ongoing audience for his work.
Viewers in particular responded to the singular warmth Renoir manifested in his beautifully rendered, sympathetic, and pleasing subjects. An inherent optimism and delight in momentary and mundane joys suffuses such simple scenes as washerwomen with their children. His personal relationships were deeply felt, and he drew emotional sustenance from his family as rheumatoid arthritis increasingly encroached upon his mobility and challenged him artistically. Until his death, he worked daily at the art that was his life's passion.
Featured in this exhibition are works by Pierre Auguste Renoir and his close circle of fellow artists, including Éduard Manet, Paul Cézanne, Jacques Villon, and his son, Jean Renoir. This intimate collection lovingly details the personal connections and interpersonal relationships enjoyed by Renoir, tracing his successful and prolific career in works ranging from drawings to sculpture.