Renoir and Colorist Painters
Color theory developed in France at the beginning of the 19th century out of a desire to scientifically analyze the effects of light and to classify color with new parameters of brightness (bright/dark) and saturation (vivid/dull) in addition to hue (blue, red, etc.). Previously unexplored combinations of colors resulted in new color discoveries and in a clearer understanding of complementary color relationships.
Color theory spread among painters of the time. Delacroix, in the mid 19th century, heightened color timbre by liberally opposing complementary colors such as red and green. Monet and Renoir, in their efforts to achieve the ideal painting, struggled with color and developed a “broken brushstroke’ technique around 1870 in an attempt to avoid the diminished brightness and saturation that results from color mixing. In the paintings shown here, we investigate the quest of major painters, such as Renoir, who had an acute sense of color and created paintings fitting to the modern era in the latter half of the 19th century.
Pierre Auguste Renoir, Girl in a Lace Hat, oil on canvas, 1891
Claude Monet, Water Lily Pond, oil on canvas, 1899
HEnri Matisse, The Lute, oil on canvas, 1943
Raul Dufy, Paris, oil on canvas, 1937