Renoir Boating Party

Renoir Boating Party

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Luncheon of the Boating Party
By Renoir

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Luncheon of the Boating Party

Oil on canvas, 1881
129 x 173 (51 x 68 ins)

This famous Renoir Boating Party painting marks the high point of Renoir’s Impressionist career. It is a brilliant portrayal of a relaxed summer gathering of his friends and is one of his last works based on the camaraderie of his early life.

In 1881 Renoir travelled to Algiers and then returned to France where he painted at Chatou and Bougival. At the Restaurant Fournaise on the island of Chatou he painted this scene of holidaymakers, featuring a number of friends, including, on the left, Aline Charigot, whom he was to marry.

In the right foreground, wearing a straw hat, is Gustave Caillebotte, one of Renoir’s wealthy patrons who owned among other works his Le Moulin de la Galette. Caillebotte helped organise the seventh Impressionist exhibition in 1882, at which this painting was shown and admired by many, including Eugene Manet who wrote to his wife Berthe Morisot that “the picture of rowers by Renoir looks very well”.

The theme was one to which the Impressionists often returned. As the critic Rene Gimpel commented: “The Impressionists show their particular talent and attain the summit of their art when they paint our French Sundays… kisses in the sun, picnics, complete rest, not a thought about work, unashamed relaxation”.

The Luncheon of the Boating Party was largely executed in the studio; already Renoir was moving towards the conclusion that pure Impressionism carried out in the open imposed too many restrictions.

Ameleie movie

Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 film “Amelie” features the Renoir Boating Party being painted by Amelie’s neighbour “The Glass Man”. Almost obsessed with Renoir’s characters, he has painted a copy every year for the past 20 years!

Ameleie and Renoir Boating Party Painting

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