I admire Renoir for the valor with which he carried on his work into old age, arthritic hands and all. I don’t care much for his nudes. Nor am I as fond of Boucher as he was, but I get pleasure from his comment on “Diana Leaving Her Bath”: “A painter who understands nipples and buttocks is a saved man!”
It’s also stimulating that “the masculine is evoked” by the package prominently displayed by the hound dog at the picture’s margin. Evoked indeed! That would have escaped my notice if Roberta Smith hadn’t pointed it out in her article.
A more interesting Renoir nude is the “Boy with a Cat,” perhaps inspired by Manet, according to Smith. As someone owned by a cat, may I say this: Doesn’t the cat steal the show a bit in this painting?
Smith pronounces the creature “one of the most beautiful felines in Western painting.”
(Roberta Smith, “Looking Twice at Renoir and O’Keeffe (Ida, not Georgia),” NYTimes, 8-8-19)
(c) 2019 JMN