The impressionist paintings of Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) rank among the world’s favorites. Renoir—Revered and Reviled, a new film highlighting the Barnes Foundation’s unrivaled Renoir collection (the world’s largest, with 181 works) uncovers the rarely told story of Renoir’s artistic reinvention following his rejection of impressionism in the early 1890s, and explores its profound implications for two artistic greats of the 20th century: Matisse and Picasso.
Directed by Phil Grabsky of Seventh Art Productions for the third season of Exhibition On Screen, Renoir—Revered and Reviled offers a fresh look at one of the 20th century’s greatest artists and explores why he has polarized opinion for over 100 years. Diving into the long-standing debate over the merit of Renoir’s late works, the film asks: was Renoir a self-indulgent fantasist, or was Matisse right to declare Renoir’s voluptuous female figures “the loveliest nudes ever painted”? Viewers can decide for themselves, guided by a host of esteemed art experts and an up-close view of the Barnes’s Renoir collection.
“There ought to be a similar film for every gallery in the world, enabling access for people who would never get to visit them otherwise.” —Jonathan McAloon, Apollo