Renoir's Portraits: Impressions of an Age

Renoir's Portraits: Impressions of an Age

February 8, 1998 to April 26, 1998

This was the first North American exhibition ever devoted to the portraiture of one of the world’s most renowned artists. Of all the Impressionists, only Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) made his living as a professional portrait painter. For more than 50 years Renoir explored the genre of portraiture, experimenting and pressing forward in his determination to become—as he explained to Monet in 1884—”a painter of figures.”

Organized by the National Gallery of Canada in collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago and the Kimbell Art Museum, Renoir’s Portraits assembled from public and private collections around the world 64 of the finest examples of the portraits Renoir painted during each period of his prolific career, between 1862 and 1917. Renoir’s Portraits revealed the artist’s exceptional talents as a portraitist and examined various developments of his style and technique, reuniting works that in some cases were last exhibited together more than a century ago.

The exhibition was accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue by Dr. Colin B. Bailey, chief curator of the National Gallery of Canada, where the exhibition originated. The Kimbell Art Museum was the final venue for the exhibition.

Caption: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Madame Georges Charpentier and Her Children (detail), 1878, oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1907