The Courtauld Gallery

Pierre-Auguste Renoir's masterpiece La Loge, meaning "the theater box," was his main exhibit in the first Impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1874. It features his brother, Edmond, and Nini Lopez, a model from Montmartre. Renoir was the first artist to make the theater box a subject of modern painting and depicted theaters many times over the course of his career.

More than any other Impressionist artist, Renoir was enthralled by the spectacle of contemporary life and the fashionable elegance of Parisian society. The burgeoning wealth of the aspiring middle classes, the new fashions and the popularity of theater-going are captured in many of his works, characterized by their thick brushstrokes. Renoir's tendency to concentrate on this social milieu has sometimes been criticized for its superficiality, but his skill at lavishly portraying it is highly distinguished.

This show at London's Courtauld Gallery is the first to focus on this group of Renoir's paintings. It also includes several renderings of theater boxes by Renoir's contemporaries, such as Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas.

February 21 through May 25, 2008
The Courtauld Institute of Art
Somerset House
The Strand
London WC2 0RN
T. +44 (0)20 7848 2526