Tomorrow, The Armory Show at 100: Modern Art and Revolution opens at the New-York Historical Society. Featuring over 100 works from the original 1913 Armory Show, the exhibition examines how the Impressionist, Avant-Garde, and other modern works changed the way America looked at art.
One such work was Algerian Girl by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. From 1881 to 1882 Renoir traveled through Algeria, producing nearly thirty paintings. Parisian art dealer Durand-Ruel bought this painting from Renoir in 1882, and lent it to the Armory show, along with nearly all the other Impressionist works exhibited there. Renoir’s works were known for their color and intimacy, often depicting subjects in candid states.
The Armory Show was known for causing sensations in the art world, but the reaction to Renoir’s work was largely positive. According to The Armory Show at 100 website, Critic Frank J. Mather, Jr. found it “hard to imagine painting more sensitively lovely than..a seated portrait of a girl in a Levantine costume.”
So what was a beautiful work by a popular artist doing in the shocking Armory Show?
The organizers of the Armory Show did include many popular artists and works in the show, with a specific goal in mind. Understanding that audiences may be shocked by the avant-garde, they included works that were once shocking but became popular, such as many Impressionist works, to remind visitors that artworks that are once considered revolutionary and outrageous are often later accepted and understood. Organizers hoped that this would inspire visitors to receive new works with an open mind.
To see this and other works from the 1913 Armory Show, visit The Armory Show at 100: Modern Art and Revolution.