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The Fallacy of the Middle-Class: Overcoming Social Resentment (XXV). Where do we go from here?

Today is the 25th episode of this saga. It is basically the last one in content, even though next week I will provide the summary and conclusions epilogue. I can´t be much happier because today is our Christmas signification remembrance of the Savior of the World, Jesus-Christ. In addition, every artistic author (visual or musical or literary or in sculpture) is always cheerful when an oeuvre is done. This saga is a mini-e book dedicated to you, all my precious readers, so I am blessed for you patience to stick with me, since October 13th. Before proceeding further I wish for you a lovely and “healthy”  christmas celebrations, whispering in my prayers that none of you will be exposed to the COVID19 virus during these holidays. Protect yourself very much please.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Your mask can save you, your family and your friends.  If you don’t remove your good quality protection mask when in the middle of people, you will be shielded with 80% of protective cover against the virus. The rest of bio-sanitary measures (washing hands or using alcohol gel every half hour, social distancing, etc) represent 20% of your protection.  In addition, please, do not confuse the utilization of a mask with a political or ideological burden. All doctors use protection masks, so if you have doubts of the utilization of these useful mouth-nose coverings, just see yourself as a physician in the middle of a contaminated environment or in the middle of an infected hospital. If you utilize your covering mask properly: You can go out, socialize, speak, sing Xmas carols, dance, walk, run, exercise, take a bus, or a metro, jump, rest, and even stay in the forest to observe the stars. With your mask, nothing stops you to talk or socialize with others. Your mask is just the protective armour to keep the virus out of your organism; and also if you are sick, that mask guards others to be infected from you. If you remove your mask to eat, please try to don´t do it in front of others (even in Christmas dinner). It is a good idea to ask for your host to provide it as a take-out, and then once you are back at your place, or in solitude, you can eat “tranquillement”. So this is my Christmas advise for all of you: Be safe, please.

Let´s begin.

After all the analysis that we have done about the global Middle-Class, where do we go from here? I might be tempted to answer in the usual formal business oriented rhetoric manner, but my Christmas painting watercolor inspiration switched my plans for today. I will reply with a metaphor or an allegorical prose, that I hope you can understand. Everything I want you to know from today’s message is written in between lines.

The life of Pierre Auguste Renoir. Today´s morning started by observing Renoir artwork. When I see such precious works of art, made with the blessed hands of Pierre Auguste Renoir, I wondered what a prolific artist was him. He painted during 78 years, until his last day of life. Renoir was born in 1841 and he died in 1919. Most believe that Renoir was one of the core figures of the Impressionist movement, but Renoir evolved and was modifying his art. By mid 1880s, Renoir’s work was characterized by a richness of feeling and a warmth of response to the world and to the people in it. His paintings were full of sparkling colour and light applying paints to people in groups or in solitude, particularly of women. Renoir was so passionate about painting that he even continued to paint when he was old and suffering from severe arthritis painting with the brush tied to his wrists. One of his paintings: “Bal au Moulin de la Galette”, at Montmartre was sold for $78.1 million in 1990, but today that same oeuvre is valuated in more than double of that amount ($158 million). More than several thousand Renoir oeuvres are still in the hands of collectors and museums in our days.

“Le Dance at the Moulin de Galette”. Painted by Renoir.

Renoir was a Middle-Class citizen. His legacy now is of a billionaire. Reading Renoir´s biography, he was always on the quest for perfecting his art, and more. His travels changed him. His relationships changed him. Renoir painted figures in fashionable trendy dresses, positioning his models in modern settings: crowded boulevards, cafés, theaters, sun-dappled parks, and elegantly appointed interiors. Renoir painted people, landscapes, things, and he had no digital screen on hand. Renoir started from the bottom poverty line. His father, a tailor and his mother, a dressmaker, shaped his attraction for fashion, reflected in his art continuously. Since Renoir was a child, he was able to draw and paint, an activity that helped him later to begin to work as a painter in a porcelain factory, when his family got into financial troubles.

As a young man Renoir moved to Paris, entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and later joined the studio of Charles Gleyre (1806-1874). It is well known today, that Renoir beginnings were hard. According to his official biography: “Although he sometimes didn’t have enough money to buy paint pigments, he lived close to the Louvre, and he was able to see the art of others, paintings that he enjoyed to observe, particularly studying the works of the Old Masters”. Renoir loved to observe good art, the best art that was hanging on the Louvre.

Renoir mixed with the Parisian elite, from writers to restaurateurs to bankers. But he did not live in Paris once he could buy his first home. According to an article published by Christies, “Renoir’s ability to capture the crowd garnered the attention of the Parisian elite. Soon his list of sponsors included such notable figures as a patissier, restaurateur and collector Eugène Murer, and Madame Georges Charpentier, whose salons were attended by the likes of Flaubert, Zola and Manet. Through his art, in 1878, at Charpentier’s home, Renoir met banker Paul Bérard. Renoir regularly visited Bérard’s country house in Wargemont where he experimented with seascapes and still lifes, as well as painting portraits of Bérard’s children. Renoir first investment, was to buy an asset for his own family home at Essoyes, a little french village in the south of Champagne region. “He paid 4,000 francs for it after selling “Young Girls at the Piano” for the same amount. That was a worker’s wage for 10 years!”. The Essoyes house in this little village was the family home for Renoir, until he was forced to emigrate to warmer weather. Renoir moved from Essoyes to a new state located at La Ferme des Collettes from 1908 until he died in 1919, located in Cagnes-Sur-Mer, with the hope that it would improve his arthritis, which eventually confined him to a wheelchair. His second house in Cagnes in which he spent the last 12 years of his life, is a garden, still full of citrus and olive trees, looking out along the coastline to the Cap d’Antibes. Today both houses are museums dedicated to his life.

Technology doesn’t replace our minds. If a poor citizen wants to become a new member of the Middle-Class, it is possible through education, but education of high-quality that takes at least between 23 to 30 years of our life-time. Renoir learned his way into the fame. But he put a distance from it. Renoir won a place to be near the upper-class, but he decided to live outside Paris, where he could retreat to perfectionate his endeavors. He learned that his work required practice, peace and cultivation of his brain capabilities. He was not a technology consumer. Without any digital tool in hand such as smartphones, no computers, no digital touch-screen tablets, no Adobe photoshop or other drawing software, and no tracing paper; Renoir´s fame came to him in real life, not just because of his hard-work and dedication, but because he offered a unique “exquisite quality” colorful work, creating lively living canvas that were non-comparable to anything else during his life. In a time where other painters were still following trends to catch money, Renoir was evolving to paint people dancing, drinking, eating french galettes and enjoying the experience of being together in social interactions. Not even arthritis stopped him, and that tells us that his passion to perform, was infinite. Before Renoir passed away, he was able to visit the Louvre, and with his eyes, he saw his oeuvre hanging there, next to those Old Masters that he visited when he was a youngster.

Luncheon on the Boating Party (1880-1881). Renoir.

The life of Renoir is an example of a Middle-Class social mobility. Of course Renoir´s profile is related to the visual arts. But anyone of us, who want to be in the Middle-Class can relate to their own professions. Building a Middle-Class social status, requires patience and enjoyment for what you do by merit and uniqueness. It requires years and years of hard work. It requires to sacrifice certain things, and make choices for a stable prosperity. Probably if Renoir would have decided to live in Paris, he wouldn’t have been able to keep his savings or buy the house he bought in Essoyes village. Renoir sat up limits with his peers and his network, by moving to the rural environment. In addition, his dedication to his work is a proof of evidence (he has left thousands of his oeuvres). His children, all were able to live a life of a Middle-Class citizenship. And his estates are now museums that preserve his memory.

It is possible to be a Middle-Class citizen not just in economic factors (real estate assets, living standards, education, mindset, etc). It is possible only if whatever we do, is well-paid, at least US$28,800 dollars per year per household in developing economies, and with the financial results of our work, we can invest it in real-assets, as Renoir did it. It was possible for Renoir a century ago, without any pinch of technology,  why wouldn’t we?

Sources of reference for Renoir´s life:

Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY.  Nevertheless, the majority of the pictures, images, or videos shown on this blog are not mine.  I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.

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