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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Feb. 15, 200712:00 PM EST

an original oil painting by Renoir

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

by Max Marbut

Staff Writer

Council President Michael Corrigan accepted a special gift last week on behalf of the people of Jacksonville when an original Renoir oil painting became part of the City’s permanent collection.

One unique aspect of the gift is that it’s an original Renoir of the Main Street Bridge.

That might seem odd, considering that Pierre-Auguste Renoir died in 1919.

The painting was done not by the famous French impressionist, but by his great-grandson, Alexandre Renoir, who came to Jacksonville as a special guest for the opening of an exhibit at R. Roberts Gallery in Avondale. The exhibit is titled “Renoir and the Impressionists” and includes paintings, drawings, etchings and original lithographs by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pissaro, Cassatt, Manet, Cezanne, Morisot and others. The collection will be on display through March 9 and all the pieces are for sale.

Gallery owner Richard Roberts said Alexandre Renoir was inspired to create a painting when he arrived in Jacksonville. Roberts presented it as a gift because the City has done so much for so many years to place art in public places for everyone to enjoy.

While Renoir was in town for the exhibit, Roberts took him on a tour looking at different sites that might be the subject of the piece. They visited Treaty Oak Park, the statue in front of the Landing and then drove over the Main Street Bridge.

The painting was created in just six hours, said Roberts, who added that Renoir wasn’t sure what the subject would be until shortly before he applied his pallett knife to the canvas.

The original Renoir is currently in a conference room at City Hall, where it must dry for at least two weeks before it can be displayed. Roberts said the painting won’t be completely dry for about six weeks.

No decision has been made as to where it will displayed.

Roberts said when he saw Alexandre’s portfolio, he was impressed and knew the young artist’s work would be a hit.

“He’s developing his own talents and his own style. We found several pieces we liked and they sold very quickly.”

Roberts said only time will tell if Alexandre’s work will be as enduring as his great-grandfather’s, but in the meantime, “it’s a Renoir. It’s not the same Renoir that’s in the Louvre, but it’s a Renoir.”

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