October 12, 2015

"On the merits of the case, I would have identified with the [Renoir Sucks at Painting] people at a time... when I had left the first class of people who like Renoir and had yet to join the second."

Writes Peter Schjeldahl in The New Yorker. The 2 groups are:

1. "[T]he young, discovering that art might be something they understand. Renoir’s winsome subjects and effulgent hues jump in your lap like a friendly puppy. He’s easy."

2. "[T]hose who have stopped fortifying their self-esteem with pride in their sophistication."

Hmm. I don't know. I detect pride in #2. I think there's a post #2 position. But then, perhaps, there is, somewhere out there, #3.

30 comments:

rcocean said...

I love Renoir because he looks at everything through a white male gaze and then paints with a white male glaze.

mikesixes said...

Peter fortifies his self-esteem by being too sophisticated to fortify his self-esteem with pride in his sophistication.

traditionalguy said...

Why not just ait Renoir painstaking beautiful colorful art.

Roy Lofquist said...

#3. The people who come to realize that there is a reason that Norman Rockwell is the most popular artist of all time.

Henry said...

Peter Schjeldahl is a marvelous critic, one of the few I make a point of reading. But what really interests me at the link is the wild photoshopping of the La Moulin de la Galette. Some subdesigner at the New Yorker took saturation to 11!

Compare this, to any one of these.

Wowza!

rcocean said...

What I find puzzling is why Renoir? If you're upset at crappy paintings taking up space at some Museum, why not tackle all the crummy abstract art? And while there's plenty of great Picasso and Chagall, and Gauguin, a lot of their stuff is pretty meh.

Henry said...

BTW, Schjeldahl was notable as a New York critic for appreciating Norman Rockwell.

Sadly, you need to be a New Yorker subscriber to see the original appreciation:

Rockwell is some kind of great artist. To say what kind is difficult, because our art culture, which keeps score on these matters, has long tended to the view that Rockwell isn’t an artist at all. This is no mere adjustment of a reputation but a deep shift in how we identify and value visual art...

Roy Lofquist said...

They hated Rockwell because he could actually color inside the lines.

Big Mike said...

Between stages one and two comes a period when one listens to people with all sorts of credentials asserting that Renoir sucks, and one doubts one's own taste. At that point one asserts that Renoir sucks, not because Renoir actually sucks but because individuals one thinks of as sophisticated are saying the contrary and one wishes to demonstrate one's own sophistication by going along with them.

Althouse appears to me to be in this stage.

Stage two comes when one develops a sufficient sense of self esteem to base one's judgment not on what everyone else is saying but on one's own perception.

Henry said...

Renoir does kind of suck.

CWJ said...

Compare Renoir to his contemporaries and his stylistic forebears. He's much better than nothing, but he still sucks. French impressionism would not notice his absence if he had never existed.

El Greco, just saying.

Laslo Spatula said...

Renoir painted for Women.

Picasso painted for Men.


I am Laslo.

madAsHell said...

Monet, Renoir, van Gogh....love all their work.

Picasso, Max Ernst, Roy Lichtenstein ...W.T.F. were they thinking.

The Germans were marching towards Paris in 1941, and the Louvre was hiding works of art. Peggy Guggenheim presented her collection of Picasso, Ernst, and other modernists to the Louvre for protection. The Louvre turned down her request.

BN said...

"there is, somewhere out there, #3."

I thought the last option was always either both or neither. Aren't you a perfesser?

BN said...

I'm unsophisticated re art. Or I'm a populist. Or perhaps I'm a victim, manipulated by forces unseen.

Whatever, when the kid says the emperor's necked, I believe him.

Renoir's pretty good, IMHO.

Tank said...

I enjoy looking at Renoir's work.

I don't care if others do.

traditionalguy said...

Once more without auto correct: Why not just admit Renoir paints colorful pictures that are great art?

Fritz said...

But, but, but, great art is supposed to be ugly!

Deirdre Mundy said...

I like Renoir. He's great for decorating a room (poster prints, obviously). He looks lovely on a tote bag or an umbrella. Picture puzzles of his work are fun. My toddlers love looking at his paintings.

He made mundane things seem beautiful. How is that not talented?

Smilin' Jack said...

I can understand why some people think Renoir sucks. I just wish they would be a little more understanding of the constraints imposed on him by his time period. If they would just bear in mind that he didn't have Elvis as a subject, nor acrylic on black velvet as a medium, they might be more forgiving.

Coupe said...
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BN said...

"It was like finally understanding infinity."

Full circle back to the 'shrooms.

It's a wrap!

Birkel said...

Not to go Laslo on this thread, but when I see a woman I know if I find her attractive. I do not criticize others who disagree as wrong. And I do not find them wrong when the roles are reversed. We like what we like.

Why anybody believes their subjective opinion about women or art or music is better than anybody else's opinion confuses me. There is no baseline from which to judge such preferences.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But since we are all Socialists Now, maybe we must all conform. I hate collectivists.

Achilles said...

3. [T]hose who have lived in an academic/elite bubble all their lives, have never contributed anything of value at any level, and spend their time justifying their existence with vapid expressions of navel gazing flatulence.

Nichevo said...

4. Those who wish they could do that, ever. Renoir may have his master, but not among the living.

tim in vermont said...

I really liked the colors in certain Renoirs. Not being educated or sophisticated, I assumed they were his claim to fame.

Terry said...

"Bon jour, Misseur American! Would you like to buy one of my fine paintings?"
"Who are you trying to kid, Pierre? These paintings are crap!"
"Le jig, she is up!"

Laslo Spatula said...

1. "[T]he young, discovering that art might be something they understand. Renoir’s winsome subjects and effulgent hues jump in your lap like a friendly puppy. He’s easy."

2. "[T]hose who have stopped fortifying their self-esteem with pride in their sophistication."

3. All in on Pat Nagel, baby.

I am Laslo.

Coupe said...
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john mosby said...

Wow, Laslo, I would not have taken you for a Nagel fan.

The Nagel girl is self-assured; she's ready for anything, including turning on her spiked heels and walking away from you forever.

Definitely not Van material.

JSM