Sunday, September 1, 2019

Western Art Exhibition Critique

The show â€Å"Renoir in the 20th Century† is a group art exhibit of the French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir and his friends, held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), exhibiting from February 14 to May 9, 2010. The paintings on exhibit are the works Renoir finished in the last 30 years of his life, included in the 6,000 art pieces he finished throughout his entire career. The gallery literature lists his displayed work as â€Å"decorative, classical, and a highly personal interpretation of the Grand Tradition. The artists that Renoir influenced throughout his life and are also on display at the LACMA with their paintings, drawings and sculptures are Picasso, Matisse, Maillol and Bonnard. The art works in the public display by Renoir consist of women, children and family members with only a few self-portraits. No landscape or still life is evident in this show, as in his earlier Impressionism shows. But what makes it important is that the art work is good, as compared to years of negative art reviews by critics, who have turned their backs on this notable artist in his later years. Painting until he died in 1919, Renoir was an unpretentious and very humble artist, even though he always wanted to be the best at what he did. He had become well-established during the Impressionism years because of his talent and this attitude. However, his successful art period was quickly followed by years of wondering if he could ever paint again. I’m starting to know how to paint. It has taken me over fifty years’ work to get this far and it’s not finished yet,† declared the artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) in 1913, at a time when a major exhibition of his work, including the large nudes painted at the turn of the twentieth century, was in the show at the Bernheim Jeune gallery in Paris. When Renoir followed other artists, such as Monet, into Impressionism it w as considered by the art world as a huge movement away from Realism – the historical work of past artists that almost appeared to imitate life. The year 1869 had brought a new style of art called Impressionism into the world, developed by artists Renoir and Monet. At the beginning of the art movement, the works of both artists were so much alike it was as if their still life and landscape art blended together into one joyful union with colors to match the feelings. Using unmixed primary colors, the work had a look about it unlike any other. The dark earthy tones and heavy dedicated brush strokes of the previous masters were gone. By 1880, Renoir had begun to move away from Impressionism even though he was highly sought for his unique colors and rainbow palette style, especially in his nudes and body forms. However, deep inside he felt he had â€Å"wrung Impressionism dry. † These feelings are because his work of the human form had always been more traditional than other artists of the Impressionism group, and he was feeling as if it was pulling him away from what he felt was right for him. Renoir's return from an Italy trip in 1982 left him doubting Impressionism even more, with his work changing so much that critics, patrons and other artists felt he was going downhill with his art ability. At this time, late Renoir artwork was beginning to be considered bad Renoir work. Showing with the Impressionists, the painter [Renoir] is reported to have lamented to a dealer, â€Å"I've come to the conclusion that I can neither paint nor draw. † Looking at the show one is inclined to mumble, â€Å"Indeed. Renoir eventually left Impressionism, returning to the full-bodied female nude and children he enjoyed doing, instead of landscape and outdoors. After studying in Italy, he discovered the importance of drawing prior to painting. According to the art exhibit literature, the work of Gabriel and Jean that Renoir painted in 1895, a painting of his infant son and nanny, demonstrated this fact. Prior to its painting, he worked on preparatory drawings of the painting before he started. This was difficult He had become so mesmerized with the child's infant gown he spent hours on the painting, while quickly painting over the face of Gabrielle whom he really did not want to paint, refusing her several times prior to this. â€Å"He [Jean] said that in his father's paintings, everyone looked as if they were brothers and sisters. We are all Renoir's children in the paintings,† Jean Renoir said. † Severely in pain with rheumatoid arthritis, his hands became completely gnarled and he became wheelchair-bound. In as much pain as he was, he still painted for years. Paintings like Jean as a Huntsman shows a full-length portrait of his son, Jean, referred to as a modern â€Å"Blue Boy. † The work appears as a work of the old masters, with the gallery listings describing it as similar to the work of Spanish artist Diego Velazquez, which exemplified Renoir's work with â€Å"great art of the past† – with Jean posing for several months while his father painted under extreme pain throughout the process. According to the LACMA literature for the show, the painting remained with Renoir until his death, and then was given to LACMA by Renoir's son, Jean, in 1979. Subject matter of his final years were nudes, girls at a piano, children with their nannies – turning his back on his Impressionism style he had been so involved with earlier in his life. The light brush strokes disappeared, with Renoir returning to the style of the old masters such as Rubens. With hands appearing as old tree stumps, he had mastered the use of color and brush strokes toward his final years. To paint, he wrapped fabric around his gnarled fingers while clamping a paintbrush between the thumb and first of his right hand, appearing gaunt and emaciated. But he still painted for hours because if he quit, the pain may actually destroy him. The art display â€Å"Renoir in the 20th Century† Los Angeles County Museum of Art demonstrates how far Renoir had come artistically toward the end of his life. Instead of â€Å"Bad Renoir art† in his later years, it was the best he had ever done with a glowing to his skin tone other artists could not compete with. Becoming more and more of an art master who was dedicated to his work helped him overcome his physical pain. Through this, he worked to re-develop and refine the traditional forms and methods into an exquisite art form he had always preferred. Nowhere is this success more apparent than in the art exhibit of Renoir and his friends.

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