“Late Renoir”

Philadelphia Museum of Art

ONE THING A FAMOUS, elderly, or dead artist’s work can never be is too late. There has been widespread interest in “late” shows lately—the mesmerizing late interiors of Bonnard, Picasso’s musketeers, Monet’s late water lilies, and the confusing last efforts of Warhol and Dalí have all recently been presented for reconsideration. Central to this trend is the exhibition “Late Renoir,” on view this summer at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which examined the surprisingly divisive output of this ubiquitous artist’s final years.

The Philadelphia exhibition covered roughly the period from 1890 until Renoir’s death in 1919 (a slightly different version, with the far more thought-provoking title “Renoir in the Twentieth Century,” previously visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Grand Palais in Paris). The show, curated here by Jennifer Thompson, commenced with the artist’s marriage

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