The period after the fall of the Second Empire in France saw huge developments in the fashion industry, not just in haute couture, but also in the greater availability of ready-to-wear clothes and in the emergence of Paris’s shopping culture. More people than ever before expressed an interest in fashion trends, a phenomenon that was reflected in contemporary art and literature. This lecture explores some of the ways in which Renoir depicted fashion and fabrics in his paintings of the 1870s and 1880s.
"Renoir and the Woman of Paris," by Anne Distel, independent scholar, March 7, 6 p.m.
In characterizing Renoir’s art, Cézanne once said that his old friend had “painted the woman of Paris.” Cézanne’s insight provides the point of departure for this lecture, which takes a closer look at Renoir’s female figures.
"Fashioning the Mistress," by Gloria Groom, The Art Institute of Chicago, February 22, 6 p.m.
Between 1866 and 1872 Renoir featured his mistress Lise Tréhot in more than thirty paintings, ranging from small and intimate genre scenes to the full-length canvases that he exhibited. Tréhot, wearing the most up-to-the-minute fashions, served as Renoir’s calling card by advertising the artist as a painter of modern life, and especially of the fashionable Parisienne. This lecture will explore Renoir’s access and relationship to the burgeoning fashion industry and Tréhot’s collaborative role in helping to launch his artistic career.
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"Renoir’s Wall Power: Painting Large as an Impressionist," by Colin B. Bailey, The Frick Collection, February 8
Between 1874 and 1885 Renoir — unlike other Impressionists — produced large-scale works in both full-length and horizontal formats in which he explored the grandeur of Parisian life, leisure, and fashion. This lecture places these ambitious and iconic works in context and discusses some of the discoveries and insights gleaned during the preparation of the exhibition Renoir, Impressionism, and Full-Length Painting.