PaperCity Magazine

September 2019- Fort Worth

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84 T his fall, the Kimbell Art Museum reconsiders Pierre-Auguste Renoir's sensuous nudes in the first major exhibition to focus on the Impressionist master's work on human form. In the context of the #MeToo age, how does one approach the depictions of frolicking unclothed female figures — works celebrated in their day and collected by titans of modern art, most notably Matisse and Picasso. Organized in conjunction with the Clark Art Institute, "Renoir: The Body, The Senses" offers a luscious, bold look at the artist's preferred subject — one that bordered on obsession. The exhibition adopts its own feminist stance, coupled with a calibrated examination of Renoir's nudes in the light of classical figurative traditions. Also represented amid the 60 paintings, drawings, pastels, and sculptures are the 19th-century painter's art-historical contemporaries, forebears, and followers. Contributing insight within the catalog is an interview with contemporary artist Lisa Yuskavage, whose saucy canvases feature women of pinup quality with flagrantly pneumatic breasts. In contrast to Renoir, Yuskavage's nudes have not been pilloried; as a woman depicting her own sex, her perspective reads as empowered feminism. Despite being a co-founder of the BY CATHERINE D. ANSPON THE CONTROVERSIAL (TODAY) IMPRESSIONIST MASTER AND HIS MOST SCINTILLATING SUBJECTS GET A FRESH LOOK AT THE KIMBELL ART MUSEUM. REVELATIONS IN RENOIR Impressionist movement, Renoir (1841- 1919) may be the least understood of his contemporaries. While his work is a touchstone of every major museum collection and has always been popular with the public, it slipped from favor among certain circles during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It's now fashionable for some critics — especially those with feminist sensibilities — to stage Renoir protests and even use the word "loathe" to describe the man who, at the time of his death, commanded respect and a renown that eclipsed even Claude Monet. Born to working-class parents — a tailor and a dressmaker — Renoir was the sixth of seven children raised in the town known for its most famous export, Limoges porcelain. Upon relocating to Paris, he worked as a decorative artisan, toiling in the Lévy Frères porcelain factory. When the business folded, he began painting fans and other luxury goods. He studied in the studio of the Swiss painter Charles Gleyre. He was also in frequent contact with the treasures of the Louvre; Renoir lived within footsteps of the museum and its holdings of classical antiquities and grandees of Rococo painting, including his favorite artist, François Boucher, whose bonbon of a canvas starring the mythological huntress Diana travels to Fort Worth from the Louvre for this exhibition. These experiences all shaped and inspired the future painter, whose abilities aligned with the social transformations of the time. This was the era when Baron Haussmann molded Paris into the City of Light, with broad boulevards for promenades and urbane parks, lined with cafes for middle-class entertainments. All were perfect subjects to be captured in canvases that depicted leisure activities, exemplified by Renoir's boating-party scene, set in the nearby suburb of Chatou. PAGE 84: MUSÉE D'ORSAY, PARIS. PHOTO BY HERVÉ LEWANDOWSKI. © RMN-GRAND PALAIS/ART RESOURCE, NY; MUSÉE D'ORSAY, PARIS. PHOTO BY PATRICE SCHMIDT. © RMN-GRAND PALAIS / ART RESOURCE, NY. PAGE 85: THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE, WILLIAMSTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS.

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