This documentary, in relation to the exhibition Renoir in the 20th Century at the Galeries nationales until 4 January 2010 is devoted to the mature collection of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, a period of the artist's life that remains disputed and little known.
Cathie Lévy re-establishes the artist's rightful place, the place of a pioneer solidly attached to the XIXth century yet significantly turned towards the XXth century. To do so, the director chose to create a genuine invitation to travel instead of a portrait of the artist, by following him along a path marked with major artworks --his and those of the "Ancients"-, the places were he liked to create, his letters, unpublished pictures and film extracts.
The evolution of Renoir's art between 1890 and his death in 1919, from the years of his accolade to his rupture with the Impressionist movement, left an unquestionable mark, the influence of which may be found in the works of Matisse, Bonnard or Denis.
A particular light is thrown on Pierre-Auguste Renoir's last years of creation. Far from the image of a "happiness painter", it sets the artist back in his real place in artistic evolution.