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The Bathers of 1887 and Renoir’s Anti-Impressionism, Questionnaire Example

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Questionnaire

Barbara Ehrlich White, “The Bathers of 1887 and Renoir’s Anti-Impressionism,” Art Bulletin, Vol. 55, No. 1 (March 1973), pp. 106-126.

What does the precision of technique in the three foreground bathers in the painting suggest?  (p. 107) It is believed that the nudes were originally formed on one large sheet. The fact that the women are slighter larger than the nudes suggests that he has hoped to paint on a larger canvas. The precision suggests that he probably used tracing paper to transfer his final drawing s to the canvas.

According to White, why does the author dispute Vollard’s assertion that Renoir tried to duplicate a fresco technique during his “sour period”?  (p. 107) Technical examination of the surface reveals that Renoir did not use white plaster coats. The cracked resemblance was merely a coincidence. It is believed that the art was reworked several times, even possibly a year later. This explains the thick traction cracks in the background.

According to the author, how is Renoir’s Bathers “aesthetically incongruous”, with particular respect to the composition and brushstroke?  What is its effect and result?  (pp. 107-111) This conveys minute details such as eyelashes, ears, and strands of hair. The left bather looks isolated, like a cutout pasted to the picture surface. This separateness reinforces the execution and hues. It makes this bather seem like she does not belong in the painting.

What works of art from his own previous paintings of single nudes does Renoir’s Bathers recall?  (p. 111) They recall the large painting Diana of 1867. Like Diana, these two nudes hold artificial poses.

According to White, how did the split among the Impressionist group affect Renoir?  (pp. 113-114) He experienced monetary problems and felt lonely and isolated from other painters. Because of the split, artists worked far apart from one another.

According to the author, how may have Renoir’s relationship with Aline and the birth of their son effect the Bathers?   What proof does White offer? (p. 114) A symptom of anxiety about his relationship with his family developed. He never talked about them with even though he saw them weekly. He seemed to be mentally disconnected to his wife and son.

How did Renoir attempt to seek progress and “irregularity” in his work during 1884-87?  (p. 115) He experimented with a variety of techniques and with different arrangements and postures. He continued his search for artistic progress. He may have been guided by a theoretical idea of irregularity which contributed to the stylistic diversity of the painting.

According to White, influence from which contemporary writers in the literary and musical world prompted Renoir’s divergence from naturalism towards a new classicism?  (p. 118) Around 1183-84 the general acceptance of certain new aesthetic and philosophical doctrines led many artists to question the visual basis of Impressionism.  He was encouraged by Mallarme.  They became acquainted and Mallarme asked Renoir to illustrate one of his poems. Renoir works also bear some spiritual relationship to Culte Wagnerienne.

How did the influence of tradition impact Renoir’s aesthetic shift during his “sour” period?  (pp. 119-121) His new art was conservative and traditional Many believe the difficulty in his personal life made him less innovative and more drawn to the great masters.

According to the author, why was Renoir vulnerable to the popular taste of the wealthy class? Which artists did Renoir, essentially, look to in an attempt to “sell out”?  How did Renoir try to improve his financial situation? How did his peers respond to this shift and what was the end result? (pp. 121-125) He desired to gain the appreciation of the wealthy. Ingres had achieved fortune and academic honor. Renoir wanted both. Ingres proved to him that this was possible. He wrote several items and even moved to save on rent.  Because of the depression his paintings were selling for very low prices. To help improve his financial situation he decided to exhibit at fashionable shows. Others disliked the linear-traditional style Renoir was using.  Renoir did not like the style himself. He refused to exhibit it. He later made variations. He changed the posture of the center girl to achieve a more harmonious arrangement.

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