The Rahr-West Art Museum is thrilled to have a painting from the great French Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir now through April 30. The painting,titled 'Coco,' is a portrait of his young son Claude. It is on view in the Vilas-Rahr Mansion this spring.
The Renoir painting came to the Rahr-West in December, 2013 as part of a reciprocal loan from The Hyde Collection, an art museum in Glens Falls, New York. “Think of it like a temporary trade of artwork,” says Rahr-West director Greg Vadney. “We give them some of our art for a few months, and they give us some of there’s in return. It’s a classic ‘win-win’ proposition.” In this case, the Rahr-West loaned Georgia O’Keeffe painting Birch and Pine Tree No. 2 to the Hyde Collection for a national touring exhibition. The exhibition opens later this month at the DeYoung Art Museum in San Francisco.
Vadney says that the Rahr-West has the ability to bring some of the world’s best art to Manitowoc because of the high level of art in the museum’s collection. “These types of temporary art trades allow our community to experience artwork that normally is only found in large cities like Milwaukee or Chicago. How many people visiting Manitowoc expect to see a Renoir?”
In this case, the Renoir painting is the second of a two-for-one trade the Rahr-West negotiated with the Hyde Collection. In late 2013, the Rahr-West featured a landscape painting by 19th Century German-American artist Albert Bierstadt. Vadney says that the timing of these two loans was intentional. “We really wanted the Renoir loan to be exhibited during our Youth Art Series both because of the name recognition and the subject.” Vadney hopes the portrait of a small child, painted by a legendary artist in his trademark impressionist manner will inspire young artists. The painting is now hanging in the Vilas-Rahr Mansion section of the museum and will be there through April.