In just over four months, he visited Venice, possibly Florence, Rome, Naples, Calabria, Capri and Palermo. This trip, that he considered "an important date in [his] development", was filled with aesthetic discoveries that confirmed past intuition and admiration, while providing a lasting influence and inspiration for his art: "One always returns to one’s first love, but with something extra", he concluded.
So, although Italy and its art play a decisive role in Renoir’s career, his painting is rarely seen in Italy itself. This exhibition therefore offers the Italian public a rare opportunity to admire around sixty of Renoir’s paintings from the collections of the Musée d'Orsay and Musée de l'Orangerie.
In the 1880s, he moved towards more timeless subjects, anticipating the direction his research would take until his death in 1919. During this later period, dominated by figures of female nudes, his style evolved, inspired by references to classical art, which helped to make Impressionism “something solid and durable, like the art of museums”, to use Cézanne’s wonderful definition.
This selection of masterpieces, therefore, reveals how, beyond the conventional perception, all too often accorded to him, of a painter of happiness, Renoir was an artist who continued to challenge, in constant search of renewal, both as an Impressionist breaking the rules of representation, and a lover of the great tradition.
CuratorsSylvie Patry, chief curator, Musée d'Orsay
Riccardo Passoni, deputy director, la Galleria Civica d'arte moderna e contemporanea di Torino