Impressionism and the French Art of the Eighteenth Century

About the exhibition

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) is one of the outstanding painters of French Impressionism. Venturing beyond the bounds of that characterization, the Städel Museum is now staging a major special exhibition that takes the first-ever in-depth look at the surprising connections between Renoir’s art and Rococo painting. Whereas the latter was considered frivolous and immoral after the French Revolution, it underwent a revival in the nineteenth century and was widely visible in Renoir’s lifetime. He was also intimately acquainted with the imagery of artists such as Antoine Watteau, Baptiste Siméon Chardin, François Boucher, and Jean-Honoré Fragonard from his training as a porcelain painter. He shared the Rococo’s predilection for certain themes, among them promenaders in the park and on the riverbank, moments of repose in the out of doors, and the garden party. Renoir also frequently devoted himself to the depiction of domestic scenes and family life as well as intimate moments such as bathing, reading, or making music. Yet he not only took orientation from the motifs of the Rococo, but also particularly admired its loose and sketchy manner of painting as well as its brilliant palette, aspects that would have a formative influence on him and many other artists of the Impressionist circle.

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    Jean-Antoine Watteau, The Embarkation for Cythera, ca. 1709–1710

    Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684–1721)
    The Embarkation for Cythera, ca. 1709–1710
    Oil on canvas, 45.5 × 56 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, joint property with Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.
    Photo: Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main

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    Pierre-Auguste Renoir, After the Luncheon (La fin du déjeuner), 1879

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919)
    After the Luncheon (La fin du déjeuner), 1879
    Oil on canvas, 100.5 × 81.3 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Photo: Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main

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    Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Oarsmen at Chatou, 1879

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919)
    Oarsmen at Chatou, 1879
    Oil on canvas, 81.2 × 100.2 cm
    National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gift of Sam A. Lewisohn
    Photo: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

Taking highlights of the Städel collection such as Renoir’s “After the Luncheon” (1879) and Antoine Watteau’s “Embarkation for Cythera” (ca. 1709–10) as its point of departure, the exhibition will show altogether some 120 outstanding paintings, works on paper and craft objects from international museums such as the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the National Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, as well as private collections. “RENOIR. ROCOCO REVIVAL” will offer comprehensive insights into the complex history of the Rococo’s reception in nineteenth-century France. And trenchant juxtapositions of Renoir’s art with works of the eighteenth century as well as his own contemporaries – Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, and Berthe Morisot – will provide an overview of Impressionism’s intense artistic preoccupation with the Rococo.

Curators: Dr. Alexander Eiling (Head of Modern Art, Städel Museum), Dr. Juliane Betz (Deputy Head of Modern Art, Städel Museum), Dr. Fabienne Ruppen (Research Assistant, Modern Art, Städel Museum)

Sponsored by: Savings Banks Finance Group with Deutsche Leasing AG, Frankfurter Sparkasse and Savings Banks Cultural Fund of the German Savings Banks Association; Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V. with the STÄDELFREUNDE 1815

Picture: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Woman with a Fan, ca. 1879, The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Photo: Image courtesy Clark Art Institute.

Your Visit

  • Early Bird Ticket

    Treat yourself to a ticket for a visit to the museum or give it as a gift: An Early Bird Ticket for “RENOIR. ROCOCO REVIVAL”!

    The Early Bird Ticket can be redeemed on a day of your choice during the entire duration of the exhibition. The number of tickets is limited.

    Buy tickets

Guided tours

Group tours can be booked from 19 January 2022. You will find further information here on time.

Covid Information

The Städel Museum is open. The 2G+ rule is in effect. Visitors carrying proof of third (‘booster’) vaccination are not required to be tested. Please inform yourself about the regulations currently in force in Hesse. Please buy a timed online ticket and note the currently applicable conditions for your visit.


As of 1 January 2022, the validity of the MuseumsuferCard at the Städel Museum has been restructured. The card is valid for visiting the museum’s permanent collection and temporary special exhibitions from the museum’s holdings. Major special exhibitions with international loans like “RENOIR. ROCOCO REVIVAL” are excluded from this offer.

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