Hatred for Renoir's Art Is Reaching All-time Levels. Is It Really Justified?

When an artist becomes a household name, it's usually for doing something right. Except in the case of Renoir, who, despite his place in the history of Western art, remains, frankly, despised, by a considerable portion of experts and amateurs. Writing in the Washington Post this week, art critic Sebastian Smee did his best to redeem the artist, but only after quoting a friend who called Renoir's canvases a "painted version of Sweet'N Low." That seems to be the chief complaint about Renoir these days: that his works are too saccharine, too generically whimsical, the nudes too fleshy and unable or unwilling to express anything other than their own sensuality. Maybe so, but then why did he get so famous in the fist place? Is it just that the people who admired him so much — Picasso, Matisse, Monet and Cézanne — are all dead, leaving only the haters behind?  Continue reading...

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