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Late Renoir at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

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Renoir Concert
Renoir's The Concert is one of the paintings in the Late Renoir exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

One quote captures the Late Renoir exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art perfectly:  “I won’t paint a portrait of you, but I’ll paint a picture with you in it.” –Renoir. This exhibit is fantastic and different from what you would normally expect.  Later in life Renoir digressed back to the basics and applied impressionistic brushwork to realist and classical scenes. Instead of painting outside or on site (en plein air), he would have models pose and dress up in costume and create fabulous pictures with people poised in different stances.

Luckily I was able to take a PMA staff tour that was given by the curator of the exhibit herself. Throughout the tour she lectured about her visions and hopes for this particular event.  The layout is very open and wide, unlike the Cezanne and Beyond show which was overly crowded and would only allow about twenty seconds of concentration on each painting (my personal experience).  This floor plan allows the viewer to spend ample time, read, and concentrate on each and every piece of work shown. The curator, Jennifer Thompson, designed the exhibit with the public in mind. The openness and similarities between different groupings of paintings was to allow the general public to engage in discussions about connections and stylistic similarities.

Each time I walk through the exhibit it’s very quiet because the shows are only selling roughly one-quarter to half of the tickets for each time slot. The open space hasn’t been able to be fully tested but I doubt it’s going to feel crowded.  Even with groups with over one-hundred people touring (out of the two-hundred and fifty it’s capable of holding) the gallery still feels empty of people, but not of art.

The paintings displayed aren’t what you would expect from Renoir.  It captures the end of his life up until his last painting. It’s the last decades of his life captured on canvas.  We all know and love Renoir for his “Boating Party” and “Le Moulin de la Galette” but don’t expect to see those lively crowd scenes when you come to the Late Renoir exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Expect something new that you haven’t seen from him before. Desolate yet colorful landscapes like the “Vineyard at Cagnes” or fantastic portraits such as “The Concert.”

Vineyard at Cagnes
Vineyard at Cagnes

If you’re not as impressed with this exhibit as I was please watch the videos and look at the pictures towards the end of the exhibit.  Both show the amazing barriers Auguste Renoir had to conquer in order to paint at the end of his life. Confined to a wheel chair and losing all movement of his fingers due to arthritis he had to bind the brush to his hand and pretty much paint with a fist. It’s incredible that his painting ability was hardly affected.

I strongly recommend going to see this great event, and if you’re a member I strongly suggest you go sooner rather than later. From what I’ve picked up on most members wait until the end of the exhibits because it won’t be as crowded. Sadly, that’s what everyone thinks about this and they all try and cram into the exhibit within the last couple days creating a crowded, pushy, and miserable setting.

Where: The Philadelphia Museum of Art (26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin   Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130)

When: June 17th – September 6th

Times:

  • Tuesday – Thursday:  11:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.
  • Friday:  11:00a.m. – 8:45p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday:  10:00a.m. – 6:00p.m.
  • Monday July 5th & Monday September 6th:  10:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.

Admission:

  • Adults  ……………………………………………………………… $24.00
  • Seniors……………………………………………………$22.00
  • Students and Youth (13-18)……………………………$20.00
  • Children (5-12)………………………………………….$14.00
  • Children (4 and under)………………………………….Free!
  • Members…………………………………………………..Free!
  • Until July 16th (Weekdays 3:00p.m. – 3:30p.m.) ..$19.00