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Renoir: The Gift of Joy

Evening Program

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1M2892

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"A Girl with a Watering Can", 1876, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (National Gallery of Art)

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, perhaps most celebrated as a founding member of the impressionists, was also hailed by modern realists for his painterly technique. Regardless of style or period, Renoir's work reflected one central idea: His belief that “painting should be the gift of joy to clear the soul.”

He reveled in lush color that can be seen in his sensual nudes, family portraits, rural scenes, and slice-of-French-life depictions such as The Luncheon of the Boating Party. As a successful artist he moved in circles that included other painters including Monet, Sisely, and Cezanne, authors Flaubert and Zola, and patrons whose support allowed him to continue his work. He also served as an inspiration to many other artists, among them Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.

Art historian Bonita Billman showcases selections from Renoir’s prolific oeuvre—he painted more than 200 works—as she illustrates why he is one of the most highly regarded artists of his time.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit


S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)