- 17 Oct 2023 2:11 PM
From the Museum Team:
After several extremely successful exhibitions devoted to prominent artists of French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism (Monet and His Friends, 2003; Van Gogh in Budapest, 2006; Cézanne and the Past, 2012; Cezanne to Malevich; 2021), the museum will have Renoir’s oeuvre at its focus.
Our choice is also explained by the fact that in 2019 the museum purchased the master’s late masterpiece titled Reclining Nude (Gabrielle) thanks to an acquisition of historic importance.
“I am a figurative painter” declared Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919), referring to how his art always focussed on people. As a portraitist he delicately rendered the nuances of faces, the radiance of his models’ gazes, and the splendour of clothes. In his genre pictures he recorded the everyday, cheerful interactions of the figures, and phenomena of modern life.
In his nudes he celebrated the beauty of the female body, and the silky radiance of skin. His pictures are populated by friends, fellow painters, art lovers, members of his family, who thus become part of a carefree, harmonious world full of life.
This exhibition is both chronological and thematic in structure, and investigates Renoir’s relationship with the models who inspired his art, through paintings, graphic works, and sculptures.
Renoir is considered one of the most famous Impressionist painters, yet much of his rich and varied oeuvre, spanning six decades, from the early 1860s right up to his death in 1919, lies outside the framework of that movement.
When he started out as a young artist he was one of the creators of the new style. After his pivotal journey to Italy in 1881, however, he turned away from the Impressionist approach and aims.
In his search for a more solid, durable form of expression, he looked for guidance in his great predecessors, turning to Raphael, and the masters of the French Rococo, Jean-Antoine Watteau, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, François Boucher, and finally to Titian and Peter Paul Rubens.
For decades, he entered into an intensive dialogue with his ideals, creating a new, modern tradition. At the end of his life, in the first decades of the twentieth century, Renoir was still able to experiment and renew himself as an artist, and with his unparalleled painterly charm, breathtaking productivity, and exemplary stamina, he inspired the great figures of the following generation, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.
Museum of Fine Arts Budapest