A Most Consistent Man

Barry Schwabsky

  • Renoir: An Intimate Biography by Barbara Ehrlich White
    Thames and Hudson, 432 pp, £24.95, October 2017, ISBN 978 0 500 23957 5

The retort was cutting. Albert C. Barnes, the Philadelphia art collector who by the time of his death in 1951 owned 181 paintings by Auguste Renoir, was trying to one-up Duncan Phillips, who had recently spent the then considerable sum of $125,000 on Luncheon of the Boating Party – widely considered one of Renoir’s greatest works (and still the highlight of the Phillips Collection in Washington). ‘That’s the only Renoir you have?’ Barnes asked. ‘It’s the only one I need,’ Phillips replied.

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