Barnes Foundation Hosts Special Exhibit Celebrating the Work of Renoir and His Son

Located on display in the first floor of the Barnes Foundation, lives the artwork of late Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and the filmwork directed by his late son, Jean Renoir.

When entering the first room of the Renoir exhibition, a clip from “Elena and Her Man,” a film directed by Jean Renoir is played. In this short scene, Jean invites the viewer to witness the beauty of what it means to be young and in love, as depicted by the young French couple.

Mounted beside Jean’s film is a dimly colored cliffside painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. His swift brush strokes make the crashing waves in the painting appear ready to flood the room. Painted across from both of their works rests a wall dedicated to describing the creative bond between father and son.

In the second room, hang many dramatic, full-body, and portrait paintings by Pierre-Auguste. During the late 19th century, the revival of nudity in art had widely been considered a taboo matter, and fearless Impressionists like Renoir were ready to change that mindset. Like ancient Greek art, many of Pierre-Auguste’s subjects are depicted fully or partially nude with nature in the background.

While the remaining half of the room focuses on painted portraits of everyday people, Pierre-Auguste does not focus on the subject, but rather on the brush strokes and color.

The remaining two rooms left in the exhibition are dedicated to Jean Renoir. In both rooms are mini tv screens and headphones playing clips from various films directed by himself. Two recurring themes in the clips played were expressing notions of the body and fearlessness and, like many of Jean’s characters and his father, he, himself, was fearless – he wanted to broaden the possibilities of the film industry.

It is easy to conclude that Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s creativity influenced the uniqueness of his son’s filmography. In addition to the artwork and filmwork at the Renoir Exhibition are letters written by Albert Barnes, founder of the Barnes Foundation, and Pierre-Auguste to one another.

The Renoir Exhibition will be available to visit everyday from 11am to 5pm, until it’s event closing on September 3, 2018. Every first Sunday of the month visitors can experience this for free, or purchase a ticket from the museum entrance. More information on the exhibit and ticket purchasing can be found here:

Article written by Najah Springer on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association