Alexandre Renoir gives traditional art a contemporary twist


Courtesy of Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery

A local gallery is hosting the work of Alexandre Renoir, a descendent of the famous impressionist Pierre Auguste Renoir.

Carmen Rising

It isn’t hard to tell that Alexandre Renoir’s brightly colored landscapes and vivid florals come from a long-standing family tradition of impressionism. Alexandre Renoir is the great grandson of French impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and through the end of February, the Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery on Sixth Street is hosting a collection of his paintings. 

Alexandre Renoir is a contemporary impressionist painter, depicting subjects similar to those of the masters with a modern spin. He paints classic flowers and landscapes with a pallet knife to create thick, bold textures rather than delicate brushstrokes. Unlike older impressionists who used subdued colors, Alexandre Renoir’s pieces are full of vibrant color. 

“He’s influenced by the masters in terms of imagery, but he has his own style,” gallery owner Lisa Russell said. “When you think contemporary you’re thinking abstract and very modern. Not a lot of credit is given to the fact that there are contemporary traditionalist or impressionist artists that do an amazing job.”

Alexandre Renoir will visit the gallery on Saturday, Feb. 8 from 11-1 p.m. Children will be able to meet the artist and paint with him. That evening, the gallery will host a free reception with the artist to give the public an opportunity to meet Alexandre Renoir and enjoy his work.

“People will have the opportunity to hear him speak openly about his work and about his family — how he has been raised in the fine arts and the influence that his father and his great grandfather has had on him,” said Jacquie Martinez, Russell’s associate gallery director. “There’s a lot of oral history that he shares whenever you are with him.” 

Alexandre Renoir recalls stories of his life and family to guests, such as how his great grandmother used to model for his great grandfather. In addition to stories, Alexandre Renoir often does live painting at his showings, allowing guests to observe his artistic process. 

“He’s doing a live painting, which I’m excited to see,” said Savannah Stait, Russell’s art and framing consultant. “His style is so different and his pallet is so saturated. It will be interesting to see how people receive his artwork since it crosses over with the other impressionists, but it’s definitely his own.” 

The Russell collection began incorporating contemporary artists into its gallery of exclusively classic artists, such as Picasso and Monet, seven years ago. Alexandre Renoir’s work compliments the gallery since he artfully bridges traditional and contemporary style. 

“I started off a purely masters gallery, and I’ve always had my permanent collection, so it was a natural fit to combine the two — to show the old and new,” Russell said.

Among his original pieces, the collection contains several works that pay homage to Alexandre Renoir’s great grandfather, such as a colored lithograph of the famous painting “The Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881.”

“It’s interesting to look back at his great grandfather and see where art has come in comparison and watch it evolve,” Russell said. 

Saturday’s reception, along with the artworks, will provide a memorable experience for traditional and contemporary art fans alike.  

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for anyone to come enjoy the masterworks that we have as well as today’s living master artist,” Martinez said. “To have direct lineage present is a phenomenal opportunity — one you don’t get too often.”