It's been a few years since the last big Pierre-Auguste Renoir exhibition in town. The last one, if I remember correctly, was "Renoir: Tradition & Innovation" at the National Art Center Tokyo (NACT). That brought over the French impressionist's "Dance at Bougival" (1883), an excellent painting, but padded out the rest of the show largely with inferior works, leaving a generally negative impression — no pun intended.

This time the show is again at NACT, but there seems to have been a noticeable uptick in quality. Instead of just one or two famous works to emblazon on posters and leaflets in order to draw the crowds, there seems to be a surfeit. Among these are "Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette" (1876), touted by the museum as one of the "crown jewels of impressionism"; the tender and heart-warming "Girls at the Piano" (1892); and "The Bathers" (1918-19), one of the best examples of Renoir's "fuller figure" nudes from his later period. In addition to this, the lesser works seem to be of a generally higher quality.

From all this, there is a real sense of the organizers upping their game and attempting to give this famous and much-loved painter his due.