Renoir Authority Colin Bailey to Lecture at the Kimbell
Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, will present a special evening lecture titled ” ‘The Loveliest Nudes Ever Painted’: Renoir and the Nude” on Friday, January 10, at 6 p.m., in the Pavilion Auditorium. This lecture is presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Renoir: The Body, The Senses, which is half-price on Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m. No reservations are required; the lecture is simulcast in the Kahn Auditorium.
In his thirties, Pierre-Auguste Renoir was already recognized as the principal figurative painter of the Impressionist movement, whose preferred subjects were beautiful, young Parisian women. As a painter of modern life, Renoir was also attached to the genre of the female nude, which he considered “one of the indispensable forms of art.” This lecture offers a brief survey of the various iterations of the nude in Renoir’s long career — from his student days at the École des Beaux-Arts, his earliest affiliation with Monet and the future Impressionists and the “crisis years” of the 1880s to the last decades of his life, in which the female nude became the dominant subject of his repertory.
In April 2015, Colin B. Bailey was named the sixth director of the Morgan Library & Museum, New York, which is internationally recognized for its collections of drawings, medieval manuscripts, music manuscripts and rare books and letters and is also a noted research center. Bailey is a specialist in 18th-century French art and a recognized authority on the work of Renoir. He earned his doctorate in art history from the University of Oxford in 1985. Prior to joining the Morgan, he held the position of director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and worked at New York’s Frick Collection for more than 13 years in a variety of positions, including deputy director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator.
Bailey has been responsible for many celebrated exhibitions, including Renoir, Impressionism, and Full-Length Painting (2012), Watteau to Degas: French Drawings from the Frits Lugt Collection (2009) and Gabriel de Saint-Aubin (1724–1780) (2007), all of which were mounted at the Frick. He is also responsible for Renoir Landscapes, 1865–1883 (2007), The Age of Watteau, Chardin, and Fragonard: Masterpieces of Eighteenth-Century French Genre Painting (2003) and Renoir’s Portraits: Impressions of an Age (1997), shown at the National Gallery of Canada. The latter was also shown at the Kimbell, where Bailey was curator of European painting and sculpture (1989–90) and senior curator (1990–94). His book Patriotic Taste: Collecting Modern Art in Pre-Revolutionary Paris was awarded the Mitchell Prize for the best art history book of 2002–2003. In 2011, he authored the well-received Fragonard’s Progress of Love at The Frick Collection. He is also a contributor to The New York Review of Books. Bailey has taught graduate seminars in 18th-century French art at Bryn Mawr College, Columbia University and the City University of New York Graduate Center. In 2010, he was promoted to the rank of Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.