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Renoir and Algeria

Renoir and Algeria

by Roger Benjamin

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In this catalog for a traveling exhibition organized by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA, Benjamin (art theory, National Inst. of Arts) focuses on Renoir's Oriental paintings. Some were created in Algeria during two brief visits Renoir made in 1881 and 1882 while recovering from pneumonia. Others were studio paintings, done at various times throughout his career, that portrayed Parisian women in the costumes of odalisques. Ever since Delacroix's 1830s visit to Algeria, works reflecting the glories of the French Empire were popular subject matter. An essay by David Prochaska (history, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) outlines the history of the French in Algeria, and the book conveys the nature of this place, so strange to the French, with many photographs, old postcards, maps, and drawings. This well-illustrated work is unique in Renoir studies, developing a minor theme in the French master's oeuvre and presenting it in pleasing format. One small problem, however-Renoir's letters are not translated from the French. Libraries with an emphasis on Impressionism and 19th-century French painting may want to buy, but large public, museum, and academic collections should purchase only as interest and need warrant.-Ellen Bates, New York Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Yale University Press
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