When Renoir learned to paint

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A forthcoming exhibition in Paris sheds light on Renoir's more decorative, late period.

In 1913, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) remarked: “I’m starting to know how to paint. It has taken me over fifty years’ work to get this far and it’s not finished yet.” Similarly, Guillaume Apollinare once praised Renoir’s late paintings as “the most beautiful, and the most youthful” of them all. Since then, however, the late Renoir remained mysteriously neglected by studies and exhibitions.

Until now. The exhibition “Renoir in the 20th century”, shown at the Galeries nationales (Grand Palais, Champs-Elysées) from 23 September to 4 January 2010, sheds light on the painter’s last years. Whereas the early Renoir was widely acclaimed as an emblematic figure of Impressionism, his later style is both classical and decorative. Always eager to test himself against great masters from the past, Renoir focussed on female nudes, portraits, and studies from models, kind of as a self-styled "figure painter". His innovative balance between objectivity and subjectivity, between tradition and innovation, led the way to classical modernity.

As many compositions shown at the exhibition, such as Large Bathers of 1918-1919, received enormous acclaim during their times, they also had a profound influence on other contemporary artists in early twentieth century France: some of the works once even belonged to Matisse or Picasso! Where appropriate, their art is displayed alongside Renoir’s works, serving as testimony to the painter’s posterity.

This groundbreaking exhibition, also to be shown at Los Angeles and Philadelphia, explores a period and aspects of Renoir’s work which are little known to the public – an inspiring and dedicated exploration of some of the world’s finest art!

Regarding accommodation, Concorde Hotels&Resports’ Parisian properties are offering a fantastic Renoir art package, which includes one night’s accommodation in a double room on a bed and breakfast bases with two queue jumper tickets that allow privileged access to the National Galleries of the Grand Palais. Choose from the Hotel de Crillon, Hotel Lutetia, Hotel du Louvre, Hotel Concorde la Fayette, hotel Concorde Saint-Lazare or the Hotel Concorde Montparnasse as a charming base whilst discovering the great city of Paris and its cultural heritage. Prices start from 202 Euros per room per night. www.concorde-hotels.com/renoir