Renoir at the Phillips? Oh là là!

Craig Meklir Uncategorized

The Renoir and Friends exhibit opening Saturday at the Phillips Collection will feature 40 of the artist’s works, with the main focus being on Luncheon of the Boating Party.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), one of the original group of innovative French impressionists that included Claude Monet and Edgar Degas, struggled for years through lukewarm reviews and hardship brought on by the Franco-Prussian War before finding success with this truly classic painting.

The fact that this local gallery — tiny in comparison to behemoths like the Smithsonian and the Guggenheim — owns this rare gem is a major achievement. The Phillips bought the painting in 1923, 18 months after opening their gallery, for $125,000. Other Renoirs have sold since for more than $70 million.

Special events at the Phillips Collection related to this exhibit include:

• Oct. 26 — Teach with Luncheon of the Boating Party: An Evening for Educators

• Oct. 12 — Renoir, a film about the artist’s life

• Nov. 2 — Fashion a la Renoir, an opportunity to have your picture taken in the style of the day

• Nov. 9 — Renoir: An Intimate Biography, lecture and book signing

• Dec. 3 — Renoir and Friends Panel Discussion, leading art scholars discuss the artist

The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW, Renoir and Friends exhibit, Oct. 7 – Jan. 7; Hours, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday noon to 6:30; Tickets, adults $12, students and seniors 62 and over $10, under 18 free.

Feature image credit: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1880-81. Oil on canvas, 51 1/4 x 69 1/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1923.