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ART REVIEW – RENOIR – PARISIAN WOMEN DRESSED AS ALGERIANS 1872 OIL ON CANVAS.

 

Renoir’s PARISIAN WOMEN DRESSED AS ALGERIANS, aka, THE HAREM is a clever, corrupting pastiche of Delacroix’s famous paintings of women in an Algerian harem, especially his 1834 oil on canvas study Women Of Algiers In Their Apartment.

 

While the earlier artist depicted the women with some dignity & decorum, clothing them, he did show them sharing hashish, surrounded by fine drapes, curtains, and with a black servant girl tending their needs. His painting has a photographic, documentary realism to it.

 

By contrast, Renoir’s Parisian prostitutes, in the brothel, which is a kind of temporary harem for many visitors & customers,  are in some state of undress, and shameless free expression. The brothel chambers are similarly stripped back, with only one central rug, revealing floorboards that are beginning to crack and warp. The ladies here are creating a fantasy – the life is not real as it is in Algiers, the exotic is reduced to the stark erotic, reality caves into fantasy. The painting has a dreamy, misty quality. The love offered here, the smiles, etc, are fleeting and illusionary.  

 

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