The White Wall: “Baigneuse Debout” by Renoir
Get out your berets and treat yourself to some delicious macarons because this week, we’re talking about a favorite French Impressionist, Auguste Renoir! Most know Pierre-Auguste Renoir for his lively and colorfully expressive paintings. Typically lumped together with Monet, Degas, and other well-known 19th century French artists, Renoir is one of those painters whose work you would expect to be exclusively exhibited in places like the Art Institute of Chicago, the Met. Well, my fellow art enthusiasts, what if I told you that we could add our very own Chazen Museum to that list? And you thought the University of Wisconsin could not get any cooler. The Chazen holds, in its collection of prints, a 1910 etching by la magnifique Renoir. Though not out on display, you can view it online or request to see it in person by making a quick call to the print room. The extra hunt makes it a bit more exciting, in my opinion. The etching is called “Baigneuse debout, a mi-jambes,” and depicts a bather standing, at mid-legs (direct translation). It looks to be a preliminary sketch; the etching seems to be done quickly, with short strokes and smaller details left out. The unfinished quality of this work offers an interesting look into the mind of the artist, himself. So often we only see the final masterpiece of the artist, whereas in this case, one is able to see a part of the artistic process. I hope you all take the time to hunt this work down; it is truly a privilege to get a glimpse into the creative mind of the enchanting Renoir!