Bringing Renoir’s Masterpiece to Life: The Inspiring Story of the Accountant and His Painting


Renoir’s 1881 oil painting, “La Loge”, is a timeless masterpiece that captivates viewers with its juxtaposition of vibrant colors and warm tones. The painting depicts a fashionable couple in a theater box, along with two small children standing in the box’s balcony. It is a breathtaking work of art that has become an iconic representation of the Impressionist movement.

The celebrated painting has been shown in multiple prestigious institutions around the world, such as the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago. However, its journey to these hallowed halls was not as straight forward as one might imagine. In fact, its story is quite remarkable and inspiring.


The painting was purchased in a small shop in Paris in 1965 by a humble accountant named Michel Wedel. He was a lover of art who frequented second-hand stores and antique shops in search of pieces to purchase and admire. On this particular day, something about the painting captured his eye and he decided to buy it.

When Wedel arrived home, he was delighted to see that the painting was signed by Pierre-August Renoir. It also came with a certificate of authenticity from the Louvre. It was then that he realized he had stumbled upon a Renoir masterpiece.

The Journey Begins

Wedel could not believe his luck and was determined to share the painting with the world. He decided to embark on a personal quest to bring the painting to an international audience.

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Wedel faced numerous obstacles along the way. He lacked financial resources and did not have the proper connections to get the painting into the hands of art experts. He also faced resistance from people who did not believe the painting was authentic or did not take him seriously.

Despite these challenges, Wedel persevered and continued his mission. He wrote countless letters in an attempt to get the painting reviewed by experts. He contacted institutions and galleries around the world, often times working for free to cover the cost of shipping the painting to its destination.

The Breakthrough

Wedel’s efforts eventually paid off. In 1968, the painting was accepted by the prestigious Wildenstein Gallery in Paris, which was the only gallery to recognize the painting’s authenticity.

Wedel’s journey had just begun as he now faced yet another challenge: getting the painting into the hands of museum curators and collectors. He traveled to conferences and shows with the painting in tow, often times meeting with potential buyers in person.

The Success

Wedel’s hard work and determination finally paid off in 1971 when the painting was accepted into the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. It was a triumphant moment for Michel Wedel, who had worked tirelessly to bring Renoir’s masterpiece to life.

The success of the painting’s journey did not stop there. Wedel continued to show the painting in various cities around the world and it eventually became part of the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and other top institutions.

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A Personal Triumph

Wedel’s story is an inspiring one that serves as a reminder of the power of determination and passion. He was an ordinary man with an extraordinary dream and, despite the odds, he was able to make it a reality.

Wedel passed away in 2010, but his legacy lives on in the painting that he dedicated his life to. His story will continue to inspire generations to come, reminding us that, through hard work and dedication, anything is possible.


Wedel’s story has had a profound impact on the art world and beyond. It serves as a testament to the power of belief and perseverance. His story has resonated with many people and has been celebrated in various forms, including a documentary film, “The Accidental Millionaire”, which was released in 2011.

Wedel’s story also serves as a reminder of the importance of honoring the past. He was able to bring Renoir’s masterpiece back to life, allowing it to be enjoyed by audiences around the world. His story shows us the importance of protecting our cultural heritage and fighting to ensure that it is preserved for generations to come.


The story of Michel Wedel and his painting, “La Loge”, is an inspiring one that reminds us of the power of determination and passion. His journey to bring Renoir’s masterpiece to life was not an easy one, but his efforts eventually paid off, allowing the painting to be enjoyed by audiences around the world. Wedel’s story serves as an important reminder of the importance of preserving our cultural heritage.

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The painting has become an iconic representation of the Impressionist movement and an enduring reminder of Michel Wedel’s inspiring journey. His story will continue to captivate and inspire audiences for generations to come.

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