From sensual females to domestic scenes to convivial atmospheres, Musement shares eight Renoir paintings you should know.
A leading Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) hails from Limoges in south-west France. His family eventually moved to Paris, near the Louvre in fact, and he’d visit the museum and sketch the works on display. He eventually decided to pursue art and honed his talent at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
His work comprises many landscapes and family scenes as well as joyous, vivacious occasions, often depicting people dancing. He is known for his approach to females, often portraying voluptuous women at their most sensual.
Here’s a look at eight of his must-see paintings.
1. Ball at the Moulin de la Galette, 1876
Arguably Renoir’s most famous painting, the artist displayed Ball at the Moulin de la Galette at the Impressionist Exhibitions of 1874, 1876, and 1877. The work depicts a Sunday afternoon at the Moulin de la Galette, a windmill in Montmartre decked out with a restaurant and a guinguette. The lively luminous scene exudes joy and conviviality. The D’Orsay in Paris
2. Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1880-1881
The lively Luncheon at the Boating Party portrays a group of the painter’s friends lunching on a restaurant terrace in Chatou, a town on Paris’s outskirts. Among the lunchers are Aline Charigot, Renoir’s future wife; Gustave Caillebotte, a fellow Impressionist; and Charles Ephrussi, a French art critic, historian and collector. The Phillips Collection in Washington D.C.
3. Dance at Bougival, 1883
In this work, Renoir reverts to a more classical style of paintings. Set in the village of Bougival just outside of Paris, the painting shows a couple dancing while merrymakers drink and chat in the background. His friends and fellow artists Suzanne Valadon and Paul Lhote modeled for him.
Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
4. The Umbrellas, 1881 and 1885
Renoir worked on this painting in two phases, starting with Impressionism in 1881 and then taking more of a classical approach to complete it in 1885. The Umbrellas depicts pedestrians in Paris holding up its titular coverings to shield themselves from the rain. The work alternates between the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin and the National Gallery of London. It’s currently in the latter.
5. The Large Bathers , 1884 – 1887
In The Large Bahers, a group of nude females bathes and frolics around a river in a gorgeous landscape that emits that quintessential Impressionism light. Renoir portryas the females in his typical voluptuous style. Once again Aline Charigot, Renoir’s future wife, and his artist friend Suzanne Valadon model for him. Philadelphia Museum of Art
6. Two Sisters, 1881
Also known as On the Terrace as that’s how its first owner, Paul Durand-Ruel, referred to it, Two Sisters is a sweet portrait of two girls with a basket of yarn. They’re sitting on the terrace at the Maison Fournaise, a restaurant along the Seine that also serves as the backdrop for the said Luncheon of the Boating Party . Art Institue of Chicago
7. La Parisienne, 1874
Actress Henriette Henriot posed as the work’s titular subject. La Parisienne wears a blue ruffled dress and gazes at the viewer as she puts on her gloves. The background is non-descript, but let’s assume she’s heading out for a stroll. Or to the market? National Museum Cardiff
8. Girls at the Piano , 1892
Soft, delicate, and luminous, Girls at the Piano is a simple domestic scene depicting two young girls in a bourgeois home seated at a piano. The Musée du Luxembourg commissioned this work, and the artist decided to create a few different versions. The D’Orsay Museum and Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris and the Met in New York .