Sunday, October 24, 2010

Renoir paints Wagner - from the boating party luncheon to Parsifal

It is rather odd for me to think of Renoir loving Wagner's music though other people may think differently! Renoir was about 42 when he traveled to Palermo to paint the composer who was there finishing Parsifal. Renoir had a rough time. First he could not find Wagner and then he met a young man in Wagner's household who told him the composer was in a state of nerves about finishing his opera (who wouldn't be?) and couldn't be disturbed. After a day or so Renoir did meet the Master who showed up in a velvet dressing gown with wide sleeves lined with satin. In the end the great composer gave the great artist 35 minutes to sketch him! Renoir returned to Paris and made his painting. Wagner was disappointed that Renoir was not Ingres!

Only the year before, the congenial Renoir had painted his delightful Luncheon of the Boating Party.