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Pierre Auguste Renoir Luncheon Of The Boating Party Analysis Essay

For Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise (The Rowers' Lunch), the 1875 painting by Renoir with the same theme and location, see Maison Fournaise.

Luncheon of the Boating Party (1881; French: Le déjeuner des canotiers) is a painting by FrenchimpressionistPierre-Auguste Renoir. Included in the Seventh Impressionist Exhibition in 1882, it was identified as the best painting in the show by three critics.[2] It was purchased from the artist by the dealer-patron Paul Durand-Ruel and bought in 1923 (for $125,000) from his son by industrialist Duncan Phillips, who spent a decade in pursuit of the work.[3][4] It is now in The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. It shows a richness of form, a fluidity of brush stroke, and a flickering light.


The painting, combining figures, still-life, and landscape in one work, depicts a group of Renoir's friends relaxing on a balcony at the Maison Fournaise restaurant along the Seine river in Chatou, France. The painter and art patron, Gustave Caillebotte, is seated in the lower right. Renoir's future wife, Aline Charigot, is in the foreground playing with a small dog, an affenpinscher; she replaced an earlier woman who sat for the painting but with whom Renoir became annoyed.[4] On the table is fruit and wine.

The diagonal of the railing serves to demarcate the two halves of the composition, one densely packed with figures, the other all but empty, save for the two figures of the proprietor's daughter Louise-Alphonsine Fournaise and her brother, Alphonse Fournaise, Jr, which are made prominent by this contrast. In this painting Renoir has captured a great deal of light. The main focus of light is coming from the large opening in the balcony, beside the large singleted man in the hat. The singlets of both men in the foreground and the table-cloth all work together to reflect this light and send it through the whole composition.

Interactive image[edit]

Subjects depicted[edit]

As he often did in his paintings, Renoir included several of his friends in Luncheon of the Boating Party.[4] Identification of the sitters was made in 1912 by Julius Meier-Graefe.[5] Among them are the following:[6]

  • The seamstress Aline Charigot, who is holding an affenpinscher dog, sits near the bottom left of the composition. Renoir married her in 1890, and they had three sons.
  • Charles Ephrussi—wealthy amateur art historian, collector, and editor of the Gazette des Beaux-Arts—appears wearing a top hat in the background. The younger man to whom Ephrussi appears to be speaking, more casually attired in a brown coat and cap, may be Jules Laforgue, his personal secretary and also a poet and critic.
  • Actress Ellen Andrée drinks from a glass in the center of the composition. Seated across from her is Baron Raoul Barbier, former mayor of colonial Saigon.
  • Placed within but peripheral to the party are the proprietor's daughter Louise-Alphonsine Fournaise and her brother, Alphonse Fournaise, Jr., both sporting traditional straw boaters and appearing to the left side of the image. Alphonsine is the smiling woman leaning on the railing; Alphonse, who was responsible for the boat rental, is the leftmost figure.
  • Also wearing boaters are figures appearing to be Renoir's close friends Eugène Pierre Lestringez, a bureaucrat, and Paul Lhote, himself an artist. Renoir depicts them flirting with the actress Jeanne Samary in the upper righthand corner of the painting.
  • In the right foreground, Gustave Caillebotte wears a white boater's shirt and flat-topped straw boater's hat as he sits backwards in his chair next to actress Angèle Legault and Italian journalist Adrien Maggiolo. An art patron, painter, and important figure in the impressionist circle, Caillebotte was also an avid boatman and drew on that subject for several works.


Actual location[edit]

Contemporary critical reception[edit]

At the Seventh Impressionist Exhibition in 1882, the painting generally received praise from critics. "It is fresh and free without being too bawdy," wrote Paul de Charry in Le Pays, March 10, 1882. In La Vie Moderne (March 11, 1882), Armand Silvestre wrote, "...one of the best things [Renoir] has painted...There are bits of drawing that are completely remarkable, drawing- true drawing- that is a result of the juxtaposition of hues and not of line. It is one of the most beautiful pieces that this insurrectionist art by Independent artists has produced." Alternatively, Le Figaro published Albert Wolff's comment on March 2, 1882: "If he had learned to draw, Renoir would have a very pretty picture..." [7]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Actor Edward G. Robinson (1893-1973) is quoted as saying: “For over thirty years I made periodic visits to Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party in a Washington museum, and stood before that magnificent masterpiece hour after hour, day after day, plotting ways to steal it."[8]
  • The painting was featured prominently in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's film Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain — released in English as Amélie (2001). The most prominent reference is a comparison between the film's protagonist, Amélie, and the woman in the centre sipping a glass (Actress Ellen Andrée), seemingly gazing out of the canvas, uninterested, while everyone else is enjoying the day together. The painting and its relationship to Amélie is also featured in the musical version of the film in the song "The Girl with the Glass."
  • A homage to this painting appears in the final panel of On the False Earths, the seventh volume of Jean-Claude Mézières and Pierre Christin's long-running comic book series Valérian and Laureline.[9]
  • Renoir's creation of the painting is dramatized in Susan Vreeland's 2007 novel, Luncheon of the Boating Party.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  1. ^"Where's the Lunch? Looking at Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party". Smithsonian Magazine. November 10, 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2017. 
  2. ^The New painting, Impressionism, 1874-1886 : an exhibition organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco with the National Gallery of Art, Washington (2nd ed.). [San Francisco]: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 1986. p. 379. ISBN 0884010473. 
  3. ^Nicolas Pioch, WebMuseum, Paris
  4. ^ abcPanko, Ben (10 October 2017). "Exhibit Sheds New Light on Renoir's "Luncheon of the Boating Party"". Smithsonian. Retrieved 11 October 2017. 
  5. ^The New painting, Impressionism, 1874-1886 : an exhibition organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco with the National Gallery of Art, Washington (2nd ed.). [San Francisco]: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 1986. p. 412. ISBN 0884010473. 
  6. ^"Luncheon of the Boating Party". acesart.com. Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. 
  7. ^The New painting, Impressionism, 1874-1886 : an exhibition organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco with the National Gallery of Art, Washington (2nd ed.). [San Francisco]: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 1986. p. 413. ISBN 0884010473. 
  8. ^Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia: http://www.worldofepicmovies.net/edwardg.htm. Retrieved May 17, 2010
  9. ^[1]Archived June 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.

Art Analysis Of The Luncheon Of The Boating Party Vs A Sunday On La Grande Janette

     The Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-Auguste Renoir is a piece full of rich colors that reflect both the time period and the artist’s impressionist style. This composition not only conveys a leisurely gathering of people, but also expresses the changing French social structure of the time due to the industrial revolution. To portray these themes Renoir uses, shape, space, color and texture. Shape is seen in the modeled figures and bottles, and space is created by overlapping of the bodies, but it does not give a realistic illusion of depth. Color is most evident in the painting by the deep blue and green contrasted by the vibrant red and greens making it very rich in colour. Texture is also evident in the clothing which was emphasized by the artist’s impressionist brushstroke style. Renoir also used principals of design to make his composition more effective like balance, movement, repetition and unity. A symmetrical balance is evident because most of the subjects in the painting are on the right side. Movement is achieved in this painting by the gesture and expression of the subjects as well as the drapery on the table and the gazebo cover. Repetition can be seen in the curves of the gazebo cover, the stripes and the posts in the railing. All these elements and principals of design unify this piece and make it very pleasing to the eye. Renoir reflects the theme is this painting because the impressionist style was new to the art field, just as the advances from the industrial revolution were new to the people of the world.
     A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat is a vibrant piece, that reflects his pointillism style. This painting displays elegant, emotionless people taking a leisurely walk on a nice Sunday afternoon. Seurat uses space, texture and colour to show ordinary people in the park in an artistic way. In this piece, the illusion of space is created through the use of the foreground and overlapping. The figures in the front are much larger that the figures off in the distance and overlapping of figures create this illusion of space. Texture is created to give a sense of realism and beauty. This was captured by Seurtat’s pointillist style, making it seem like he has painted each strand of grass and leaf in the trees. Colour is evident in Seurats painting style, where he felt that tiny colour dot would be more vibrant than ordinary brushstrokes. Balance, emphasis and unity are all principals that make this an exquisite piece of art. A symmetric...

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