Renoir. Between Bohemia and the Bourgeoisie: The Early Years

In the August 16 issue, Willibald Sauerländer writes: “Our altered and disenchanted view of the nineteenth century has interpreted Impressionism as a historical phase and long ago assigned it a place in the social archaeology of the bourgeois era. Gone is the innocent secessionist dream of the ‘painters of modern life,’ the programmatic heroism of the refusés who rejected the recognition that came with exhibiting work in the Salon. Nor is our image of Renoir any longer the rosy one of artistic legend. His biography has become more contradictory, undermined by episodes long left unmentioned. That is the starting point for a meticulous but modest exhibition (comprising a total of some fifty pictures) at the Kunstmuseum Basel. It shows us Renoir’s work before his ‘Arcadian turn,’ that is, from the years before his social and commercial success. The earliest paintings are from the 1860s, when he was still finding his way in company with Bazille, Monet, and Sisley, with whom he for a while shared a studio and enjoyed the pleasures of the suburbs along the Seine with their water sports and relaxed atmosphere.”

The Kunstmuseum Basel is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 AM-6 PM. Admission from €19. For more information, visit

Image: Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Category: Exhibition
Kunstmuseum Basel
St. Alban-Graben 16,
Basel, Switzerland