Off the page and onto the streets: protesters demonstrate against Renoir

It is rare that art criticism takes to the streets, but this week in Boston, that is exactly what happened.

On Monday a group of sign-wielding protesters assembled outside the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston demanding that the museums takes the paintings by the French artist Auguste Renoir off their walls.

The playful protest was organised by Max Geller, who is responsible for the Instagram account Renoir Sucks at Painting.

In response to the Guardian’s question about why he dislikes Renoir so much, Geller countered: “Why do so many people think he’s good? Have you looked at his paintings?

“In real life, trees are beautiful. If you take Renoir’s word for it, you’d think trees are just a collection of green squiggles,” he added.

Many of the protesters heard about the action through the Instagram account, which now has over 7000 followers. They held signs saying slogans such as “God Hates Renoir” and “Treacle Harms Society,” and chanted: “Put some fingers on those hands! Give us work by Paul Gauguin !” and “Other art is worth your while! Renoir paints a steaming pile!”

Genevieve Renoir, an ancestor of the Impressionist artist, responded to the protest, via Instagram, by pointing these zealous critics to Renoir’s buoyant market: “When your great-great-grandfather paints anything worth $78.1 million, then you can criticize. In the meantime, it is safe to say that the free market has spoken and Renoir did NOT suck at painting.”

Who knew art history could get quite so lively.

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