Renoir, Masterpieces from the Musée d'Orsay and the Musée de l'Orangerie

Pierre-Auguste Renoir 
 (1841-1919)
 La balançoire [The Swing]
 1876
 Oil on canvas
 H. 92; W. 73 cm
 Paris, Musée d'Orsay, bequest of Gustave Caillebotte, 1893
Pierre-Auguste RenoirThe Swing© Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
"The problem with Italy […] is that it’s too beautiful", declared Pierre-Auguste Renoir, towards the end of his life, somewhat paradoxically. The artist only visited this country once, during the winter of 1881-1882.
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.

Auguste RenoirClaude Renoir en clown © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée de l'Orangerie) / Franck Raux
The selection of paintings for the Turin exhibition sets out to trace the career of the Master of Impressionism that started in the mid 1860s, the period of his early work in Paris and the start of his friendships with Monet, Bazille, Cézanne, Degas, Pissarro and Manet. During the 1870s, he created some of the most famous and accomplished snapshot images of modern life through his portraits, his scenes of leisure activities and his luminous landscapes.
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.

 

Curators

Sylvie Patry, chief curator, Musée d'Orsay
Riccardo Passoni, deputy director, la Galleria Civica d'arte moderna e contemporanea di Torino

23 October 2013 - 23 February 2014

Turin, Galleria Civica d'arte moderna e contemporanea


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