Patrick Noon

Renoir was one of the most important of Delacroix’s admirers and he starts out painting imaginary Orientalist pictures, but then in 1881 he decides he needs to go to North Africa to really understand Delacroix’s color. He makes the pilgrimage to Tangiers and Algeria. In this instance he paints an incredibly amazing painting of an Arab festival at the center of which are Sufi minstrels. And he must have gone to North Africa with these images in mind. In this painting he is bordering on abstraction, it’s just touches of color, it’s a palette and a brilliance of palette that immediately harkens back to Delacroix.

In this particular Renoir, he is very much aware of that kind of movement and surface, it’s just these touches of painting and color moving all over the surface, which you recognize as people but barely, which is creating a composition with movement and color not with drawing and not with linear exactitude or minute touches for detail, he is doing exactly what Delacroix does in his own way.

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