Friday, September 01, 2017

Cassatt/Morisot vs. Renoir

The Met is not at all phased by Renoir-hating, obviously, since
they included this Renoir in a membership outreach email.
There doesn't seem to be much going on with the Renoir Sucks at Painting crew outside of their Instagram.

But their Instagram presents evidence connecting Renoir to white supremacists as in these hate mails from the Nazi web site Stormfront and Donald Trump's apartment.

Speaking of Nazis, it turns out Renoir was a bit of an anti-Semite as recorded by Julie Manet the daughter of another impressionist painter Berthe Morisot who was married to the brother of another impressionist Edouard Manet:
 ...Julie quotes Renoir as saying, “[The Jews] come to France to earn money, but if there is any fighting to be done they hide behind a tree… There are a lot of them in the army, because the Jew likes to walk about wearing a uniform”. During the same discussion, Julie notes that Renoir also “let fly on the subject of Pissarro, ‘a Jew’, whose sons are natives of no country and who do their military service nowhere”. Renoir goes on, “It’s tenacious the Jewish race. Pissarro’s wife isn’t one, yet all the children are, even more so than their father.”[15]
On another occasion, Julie quotes Renoir talking about how he “naturally” refused to sign a petition which the Jews and anarchists were signing for a reconsideration of the Dreyfus trial. During another interminable discussion, a “very worked up” Renoir observes that  “the peculiarity of the Jews is to cause disintegration”. On a later occasion he derides Gustave Moreau’s painting as “art for Jews”[16]. 
Renoir's comments about Jews sound exactly like contemporary bigots talking about Muslims.

All the other artists mentioned in this post are better than Renoir, but with the possible exception of Manet, Renoir is the most famous.

The Stormfront comments are idiotic and wrong-headed as Nazi comments will be. The one quoted by the anti-Renoir brigade says: "Renoir created beautiful works of art depicting happy, healthy White people enjoying life. That's why the anti-whites despise him..."

Of course this is blatantly false. Nobody is complaining about the art of Mary Cassatt or Berthe Morisot, who both painted the same exact subjects as Renoir. And yet Renoir is much more famous and revered than either of them. Max Geller, the leading anti-Renoir guy makes a good point:
“I think what’s important to understand is that Renoir actually does suck at painting, and there are plenty of female artists who never get hung in fine art museums because they’re dominated by males,” Geller said. “And if you’re going to dominate, territorially speaking, your walls with white male artists, I think you should make certain that they are good artists.”
And not only did Cassatt and Morisot paint the same kind of subjects as Renoir, sometimes they painted exactly the same subject.

Here are two pastel drawings of a woman in red with her dark hair up in a bun, breastfeeding.  The first is Renoir, the second is Cassatt. You can't get a clearer demonstration of the superior skills of Cassatt with the composition, choice of color, use of paint and draftsmanship. You can't compare the faces since Cassatt's woman  is turned away, but it's unlikely hers has the visage of a slow cow as Renoir's does.


And here are two paintings with similar compositions and (almost) the exact same subjects. The first is Berthe Morisot and her daughter Julie Morisot by Renoir and the second is a painting by Morisot of her daughter Julie and Morisot's sister-in-law, who would be around the same age as Morisot.

What a difference - Renoir's is flat in composition and color and lighting, while Morisot's piece has depth and subtlety. Renoir doesn't even attempt a background, content to make it his usual wash.
And you can see that Renoir, as he did with painter Suzanne Valadon when she was young, put Julie Manet through the Renoir-alizer and turned a thoughtful young woman into another generic smiling pretty girl-cow.

Well at least Julie got her revenged by recounting Renoir's anti-Semitism for the world.

Clearly Morisot and Cassatt handled the "white people having fun" every bit as much as Renoir, except they did it much much better. Which is why nobody is saying they suck at painting. But since Renoir had a penis he was and continues to be given much greater respect than either of these two female Impressionists.