ART REVIEW: “Renoir in the 20th Century”-Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) is primarily known and recognized as one of the most famous artists of the Impressionist movement, which sought to capture everyday moments such as domestic scenes, views of nature, social gatherings and nights “on the town” as well as fleeting moments such as a smile, a laugh, a turn of a head, a gesture. The Impressionists sought to recreate these moments on a canvas, using loose, lively brushstrokes and wonderful varieties of colors to bring them life.

However, as Renoir aged he abandoned his Impressionist style and subject matter and became inspired by classical models. Much of his late work depicts female nudes and paintings of nature, as opposed to his earlier work which depicted social scenes such as parties. In LACMA’s “Renoir in the 20th Century”, his later works are exhibited, and they are abundant in soft color and sensual images. The painting “Bather on a Rock”, painted 1892, combines Renoir’s Impressionist color palette with inspiration from the well-known ancient sculpture “Venus Pudica” (Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” adopts the pose of the sculpture, for example).

In this exhibit, Renoir’s brushstrokes are looser (owing to his arthritis) and his fascination with the female nude is displayed with aplomb. I noticed how the figures he painted seem to melt into the background, real, flawed, voluptuous, with flowing, shining hair. Many of the nudes are based on his son’s nanny Gabrielle, who also modeled for him. One of my favorite paintings in this exhibit, however, was one of his brightly colored nature scenes (that made me think of Cezanne), the “Terrace at Cagnes”, painted in 1905, which depicts homes and trees in vibrant colors. This painting was brightly colored yet calm and gave me an immense desire to visit Cagnes and stand on the terrace where Renoir stood.

Also on display in the exhibit are sculptures of nudes inspired by classical models which were created by Renoir in collaboration with other artists. This exhibit was like walking in a dreamily colorful soft, idyllic land with no sharp lines, where nature and people melted into each other without distinct boundaries. While I still prefer Renoir’s Impressionist work, this exhibit provided some quite enjoyable deviations from “classic Renoir.”


  1. Thank you for your review and take on this exhibit. I have tickets for next week and will take your imput with me.

  2. Nice review, you are a talented writer and a passionate art-lover! Can't wait to take Hannah to see it.

    Proud to be related to you, Deb.
    Looking forward to reading more.
    I am a Fan!

  3. Nicely done! I enjoyed reading your review. Keep up the good work.

  4. God your vocabulary is awesome and your writing just flooooows (like the paintings haha)

  5. great work. i was most impressed by your treatment of nudes--found your descriptions and reactions most interesting and evocative. keep up the great work.ove grandmere


Post a Comment