Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919), Woman with a Fan, ca. 1879. Oil on canvas, 65,4 × 54 cm, The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown. Photo: Image courtesy Clark Art Institute. clarkart.ed
Pierre-Auguste Renoir is one of the outstanding painters of French Impressionism – and far more than that. From 2 March to 19 July 2022, for the first time the Städel Museum will be addressing the surprising references in his art to Rococo painting in a large-scale special exhibition. Whereas Rococo painting was considered frivolous and immoral after the French Revolution, it underwent a revival in the nineteenth century and was widely visible in Renoir’s lifetime. Having trained as a porcelain painter, he was also intimately acquainted with the imagery of artists such as Antoine Watteau, Baptiste Siméon Chardin, François Boucher and Jean-Honoré Fragonard. He shared the Rococo’s predilection for certain subjects, among them promenaders in the park and on the riverbank, moments of repose in the outdoors, and the garden party. Renoir also frequently devoted himself to the depiction of domestic scenes and family life as well as intimate moments such as bathing, reading or making music. Yet he not only took orientation from the motifs of the Rococo, but also particularly admired its loose and sketchy manner of painting as well as its brilliant palette, aspects that would have a formative influence on him and many other artists in the Impressionist circle.
The exhibition at the Städel presents the complex history of the Rococo’s reception in nineteenth-century France. Trenchant juxtapositions of Renoir’s art with works of the eighteenth century as well as his own contemporaries – Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet and Berthe Morisot – will provide an overview of Impressionism’s intense artistic examination of the Rococo.
The exhibition will show a total of some 120 outstanding paintings, works on paper and handcrafted objects from international museums such as the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the National Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, as well as private collections.
Curators: Dr. Alexander Eiling (Head of Modern Art, Städel Museum), Dr. Juliane Betz (Deputy Head of Modern Art, Städel Museum), Dr. Fabienne Ruppen (Research Assistant, Modern Art, Städel Museum)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919), The Promenade, 1870. Oil on canvas, 81,3 × 64,8 cm, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919), Woman with a Parasol in a Garden, 1875. Oil on canvas, 54,5 × 65,0 cm, Museo Nacional Thyssen Bornemisza, Madrid. Photo: © Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919), Femme nue au paysage, 1883. Oil on canvas, 65 × 54 cm, Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris, Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume Collection, Photo: © RMN-Grand Palais (musée de l'Orangerie) / Franck Raux
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919), After the Luncheon (La fin du déjeuner), 1879. Oil on canvas, 100.5 × 81.3 cm, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main. Photo: Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919), Oarsmen at Chatou, 1879. Oil on canvas, 81.2 × 100.2 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gift of Sam A. Lewisohn. Photo: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919), Portrait of Madame Monet (Madame Claude Monet Reading), ca. 1874. Oil on canvas, 61,7 × 50,3 cm, The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown. Photo: Image courtesy Clark Art Institute. clarkart.edu
Jean-Baptiste Pater (1695–1736), Pastoral Festivity, ca. 1725–1735. Oil on canvas, 49,5 × 59,1 cm, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main. Photo: U. Edelmann
Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684–1721), The Embarkation for Cythera, ca. 1709–1710. Oil on canvas, 45.5 × 56 cm, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, joint property with Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V. Photo: Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
François Boucher (1703–1770), Resting Girl (Louise O´Murphy), 1751. Oil on canvas, 59,5 × 73,5 cm, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Köln. Photo: Rheinisches Bildarchiv, www.museenkoeln.de/rba.de