Friday, March 11, 2016

Renoir: Revered and Reviled

La famille de l'artiste
I went to see the Exhibition on Screen Series which was called "Renoir: Revered and Reviled" last night – 1 ½ hours of painting from the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

This set of paintings is unlikely to never tour, so I didn’t want to miss seeing what was there, and what the critics and curators of the collection had to say about it.

The camera spent a long time on “The Artist’s Family” (1896) for some think that Renoir was in the picture originally, in the open space, and then painted himself out. In the end, x-ray technology revealed that this is just not true – only a charming speculation.

A lovely evening.

My only critique is that the background music is soft and soothing and it is possible to slip off to sleep when hearing it. I know this from previous viewings, so I went last night, having had a long afternoon nap. It was either that or buy popcorn to munch on.

I was 20 minutes early so sat in my chair, half listening to the conversation behind me. A woman was describing her experience of learning about this series, and then telling her companion how many of the events she had seen. I related to many of them – one builds on another until I have a whole backpack of gallery experiences I would never have had any other way.

On the way out of the theatre I was half listening again, walking down the long corridor, hearing animated conversations between groups: “Didn’t you love the rosy cheeks on the children,”; “What did you think of his late-period painting technique?”; “Why do you think he broke with the impressionists in his later period?”: “Why did this later period of his work have such an impression on Monet and Piccasso?”.

Again, a lovely evening a 20 minute ride from my home.


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