Impressionism and the French Art of the Eighteenth Century

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir is one of the outstanding painters of French Impressionism – and far more than that. For the first time the Städel Museum will be addressing the surprising references in his art to Rococo painting in a large-scale special exhibition.

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“The first exhibition highlight at Frankfurt’s Städel in 2022 is devoted to the master of Impressionism and his passion for the Rococo.”

Philipp Demandt, Director, Städel Museum

About the exhibition

Whereas Rococo painting 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. Having trained as a porcelain painter, he was also intimately acquainted with the imagery of artists such as Antoine Watteau, Baptiste Siméon Chardin, François Boucher and Jean-Honoré Fragonard. He shared the Rococo’s predilection for certain subjects, among them promenaders in the park and on the riverbank, moments of repose in the outdoors, 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 in the Impressionist circle.

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 examination of the Rococo.

The exhibition will show a total of some 120 outstanding paintings, works on paper and handcrafted 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, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, as well as private collections.

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)

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

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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

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    Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Portrait of Madame Monet, ca. 1874

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919)

    Portrait of Madame Monet (Madame Claude Monet Reading), ca. 1874
    Oil on canvas, 61,7 × 50,3 cm
    The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown
    Photo: Image courtesy Clark Art Institute.

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    Jean-Baptiste Pater, Pastoral Festivity, ca. 1725–1735

    Jean-Baptiste Pater (1695–1736)

    Pastoral Festivity, ca. 1725–1735
    Oil on canvas, 49,5 × 59,1 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Photo: U. Edelmann

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    Pierre-Auguste Renoir, The Promenade, 1870

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919)

    The Promenade, 1870
    Oil on canvas, 81,3 × 64,8 cm
    The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
    Photo: Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

“In the case of Renoir in particular, tradition and modernity interplay in a productive way.”

Curators Alexander Eiling, Juliane Betz and Fabienne Ruppen, Städel Museum


Digital Offers

Digital Offers

  • Prepared for the exhibition


    The free one-pager takes you right to the heart of Renoir’s imagery – idyllic scenes of pleasure and recreation. Ideal preparation for your visit to the exhibition – at home or on the go.

    To the Digitorial

  • Available as free App

    Audio Guide

    Use the audio guide to become better acquainted with the work of Pierre-Auguste Renoir from a new perspective. In audio tracks and illustrations, surprising connections are drawn between Impressionism and the French art of the eighteenth century.

    To the Audio Guide

Exhibition views

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    Exhibition view
    Photo: Städel Museum - Norbert Miguletz

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    Exhibition view
    Photo: Städel Museum - Norbert Miguletz

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    Exhibition view
    Photo: Städel Museum - Norbert Miguletz



LA FÊTE - The Renoir exhibition party

The vibrant city of Paris, summer on the Seine, and extravagant festivities: Renoir depicts all this in his paintings full of light and colour.

LA FÊTE – the grand party – intoxicates with French flair, pulsating beats, flowers, light, and colour. While young art experts invite you to join them in the exhibition, Chloé, the internationally renowned star from Paris, whisks you away into the world of electronic music. The legendary Karotte will also get the dance floor shaking and ensure an unforgettable summer night.

Date: 11 June, admission from 9.00 pm
Costs: 18 euros, 12 euros concession
Tickets: Available in our online shop

Art Talks

Revolutionary or Traditionalist?
Renoir and the Rococo

Thursday, 9 June, 7.00 pm

English is your native tongue and you’d like to talk to others about art in that language? Or you’re a non-native speaker and would be interested in building on your knowledge of English outside your professional environment? With Art Talks, we are offering a program of guided tours providing a relaxed atmosphere in which the fine arts will inspire you to perfect your English. The prerequisite is good command of English; specialized knowledge is not required.

Costs: 16 Euro (includes entrance fee)
Tickets: Available from May at our online shop

Individually bookable offers

Tours are available in English, German, French, Italian, Russian, Dutch and Japanese. Please contact us to arrange your group visit even if you do not wish to book a guided tour.

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Purchase your copy of the exhibition catalogue.

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Sponsors and Patrons

Sponsors and Patrons

Media partner
hr – Hessischer Rundfunk, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, ARTE


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