The Cafe Pierre-Auguste Renoir Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Cafe is one of Pierre-Auguste Renoir collection of impressionist paintings. Painted in between the year 1874 to 1875 the painting is one of the paintings use by Renoir to advance the impressionist painting agenda.

The 1870s were particularly interesting times for impressionist painting as it had not received a lot of favor among the masses. The Cafe is a great example of the initial impressionist paintings.

Renoir was part of a group of painters who had their paintings rejected at the salon. The salon was a very popular exhibition for young painters at the time. Renoir had adapted an unconventional painting technique that was not well received by the juries of these exhibitions.

The cafe is one of the paintings that had these unconventional aspects that were contrary to what was accepted as painting guidelines at the time. The cafe has all the characteristic of an impressionist painting.

Theme and Technique

The cafe painting has the characteristic heavy brushstrokes that were synonymous with many impressionist painters. The oil on canvas pieces is a masterpiece of impressionist painting as far as balance between color and contrast is concerned. The cafe presents an interesting setting for Renoir, who was renowned for his prowess in appreciating feminine sensuality.

The Cafe, as the name suggests is a setting involving a cafe, with the images of a lovely woman sitting beside a man.The colors in the painting blend well to create an aura of abundance within the painting. At a time when Renoir’s capabilities as a painter were being put in question, the painting seems to suggest an abundance of something. Possibily talent at the time.

The heavy brushstrokes make the canvas rough, an aspect that was common with impressionist painting. Light also penetrates through some parts of the painting creating a wonderful ambiance. The cafe is a great reference point for impressionist painting.

Many of Renoir's career highlights relied on his exceptional skills as a draughtsman and this can be found in the case of most famous artists. Other examples include Egon Schiele whose drawings included Seated Woman and Friendship.

Many centuries earlier, Rembrandt was the most remarkable sketcher, generally portraits. He produced his own sketched version of The Last Supper, inspired by Da Vinci's original painting. Rembrandt would also create multiple study sketches for his most famous paintings, such as Return of the Prodigal Son and Night Watch.

Renoir worked with several artists during his career as a painter. Since he did both classical and impressionist painting, he was lucky enough to have worked with a number of notable painters. Among those he worked with in impressionist painting, were Alfred Sisley, Frédéric Bazille, and Claude Monet. These painters worked together to advance the impressionist painting techniques. They started an exhibition of impressionist paintings which went a long way to popularize impressionist painting. Renoir also borrowed a leaf from other modern painters of the time such as Camille Pissarro and Edouard Manet. Most of Renoir’s paintings also featured techniques that were impacted on him by his art school teacher Charles Gleyre.

Renoir did a lot of painting over the course of his vast painting career. Most of his paintings went on to attract global acclaim and are very popular even to date. Others have been able to fetch millions in auctions. Among his notable works include:

The Large Bathers - This painting, otherwise known as Les Grandes Baigneuses, was done between the year 1884 and 1887.It is a great example of the passion exhibited by Renoir in terms of painting feminine beauty. It depicts the images of several large-bodied women taking a bath. The women are nude. Nude painting was an area explored a lot by Renoir in his later years of painting.