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LACMA hosts first exhibition devoted to Renoir's late work

Posted: February 8, 2010 11:48 a.m.
Updated: February 8, 2010 5:00 p.m.
LOS ANGELES -- LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) presents Renoir in the 20th Century, an exhibition focusing on the last three decades of Pierre-Auguste Renoir's career, until his death in 1919.

The exhibition presents approximately 80 paintings, sculptures, and drawings by Renoir, and select works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Aristide Maillol and Pierre Bonnard, to illustrate the developing avant-garde's debt to the older master.

Curated by LACMA curator Claudia Einecke and Chief Curator of European Art J.Patrice Marandel, the show offers an unprecedented look at Renoir through the lens of modernism, bridging the perceived divide between the art of the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries.

Co-organized by the Reunion des Musees Nationaux, the Musee d'Orsay, and LACMA, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the exhibition will be on view from February 14 to May 9, 2010.

During the last thirty years of his career, Renoir moved on from impressionism to an art aiming to be decorative, continue the great tradition of European painting, and be modern, all at once. The resulting paintings and sculptures became an enduring source of inspiration to a generation of younger artists who were feeling their way into modernism in the early twentieth century.

Picasso, Matisse, Bonnard and Maurice Denis, among many others, expressed their admiration for the master, and in particular for his "last manner," referring to his work at the turn of the century.

Renoir himself considered Large Bathers of 1918-1919 (Musee d'Orsay) an achievement and a springboard for future research. This was, indeed, how the painting was seen by many artists in the early twentieth century, especially in the controversies surrounding the development of cubism and abstraction.

Since then, appreciation of "the late Renoir" has changed somewhat, and his paintings from this period are now little known. Although his landscapes and portraits have given rise to major exhibitions in recent years, there have been no studies or exhibitions focusing specifically on Renoir's last years, as has been the case for Monet or Cezanne. Renoir in the 20th Century is designed to remedy this and explore this very fertile period in Renoir's career.


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