The French summer home of Pierre-Auguste Renoir will open as a museum on June 3, dedicated to the artist’s life and work.
Renoir spent summers in the fin-de-siècle house in Essoyes – 120 miles southeast of Paris, and the hometown of his wife Aline Charigot – from 1896 until his death in 1919, and the Impressionist is buried in the local cemetery with his family.
The 19th-century French property was sold by Renoir’s great-granddaughter to the local council in 2012 for €600,000. Its interiors and gardens have undergone an extensive four-year-long renovation to the tune of €1m. Climate-control technology has been added for the display of artworks.
Essoyes’ Deputy Mayor Philippe Talbot says the aim was ‘to return it to its state in his time,’ and that the restoration project was guided by Renoir’s paintings of the Essoyes house.
The artist’s garden studio is already open to the public on the grounds, and attracts around 10,000 visitors every year – a figure expected to boom with the opening of the museum next month.
Several French institutions have loaned paintings by the Impressionist, which will be displayed in the rooms where Renoir once lived to mark the museum’s inauguration. Among them is a sculpture from the Renoir Museum in Cagnes-sur-Mer and a landscape painting from the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux of a bridge in Essoyes.
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