“The Loveliest Nudes Ever Painted”: Renoir and the Nude

Colin B. Bailey, director, Morgan Library & Museum, New York

In his thirties, Pierre-Auguste Renoir was already recognized as the principal figurative painter of the Impressionist movement, whose preferred subjects were beautiful, young Parisian women. As a painter of modern life, Renoir was also attached to the genre of the female nude, which he considered “one of the indispensable forms of art.” This lecture offers a brief survey of the various iterations of the nude in Renoir’s long career—from his student days at the École des Beaux-Arts, his earliest affiliation with Monet and the future Impressionists, and the “crisis years” of the 1880s, to the last decades of his life, in which the female nude became the dominant subject of his repertory.



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