Umbrellas - Umbrellas

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Umbrellas
Curated by Max Cantu-Lima

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Umbrellas, 1880-1886

In the 19th century, Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted Umbrellas in two phases.The scene displays people caught in the in-between of departure and arrival, hiding under their umbrellas to avoid collisions.  Largely consisting of blues and greys, the painting contains Renoir's impressionistic style of loose brush strokes. The second phase of the composition took place in 1885 when Renoir went through a midlife crisis of sort. Beginning to evaluate himself and his style, Renoir looked back to classical art, specifically Ingres.

Returning to the painting, he adjusted the main woman on the left. He removed her look of hated and altered the dress and painted with muted colors - creating a more simple, working-class style than she had before. Her face, along with the child and women to her right, display Renoir’s ability to paint within the classical, detailed style.

Through the umbrellas, the hoop, and the basket, Renoir creates circular movements throughout the composition. The umbrellas positioned in ways far from impressionism, form a linear pattern. Having visited with Cezanne in 1882, the tree in the back ground could very well contain traces of his influence.
The painting thus has a conflicting merging of styles. The on-going impressionists and the classical art that preceded them, forms a busy and, at first appearance, a complex piece of art.

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