Renoir’s Last Years

Pierre Auguste Renoir, that painter of young doughy women, now takes his turn as the subject of a French art-house film. The simply-named film Renoir, directed by Gilles Bourdos, earns a solid B+. There’s enough there to make a good evening out of it. But the film, like the painter, is too twee to be a true ace.

Visual Treats at DC’s Phillips Collection

Washington, DC is a great museum town. During my dozen or so trips over the years I have yet to see all the Smithsonian institutions so I didn’t feel the need to ventured far from The Mall for my art fix. This time I avoided the Smithsonian all together and headed for one situated in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of the city, The Phillips Collection. This jewel box of modern art — and not soo modern — avoids -isms so you ended up encountering the art of 19th C. America to 20th C. France or 17th C. Spain in just a few steps.

I Think You May Have the Wrong Impression

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about being an art historian is being asked, “Who is your favorite artist?” or “What is your favorite kind of art?” These questions are always difficult for me to answer honestly in less than few sentences. Perhaps because I am a talker, or because on any given day or even hour, my answer may be different. My frustration heightens with the questioner’s following claim, “Impressionism is my favorite.” Honestly, this statement just pisses me off more than anything else about being an art historian.