The Canoeist's Luncheon 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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Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise is often referred to as The Canoeist's Luncheon and was painted by Pierre-Auguste Renoir in 1875

This painting uses the signature style of Renoir, with relaxed brushwork with gave so much of his artwork a dream-like finish. The softness of this style helped him to become one of the most respected members of the impressionist movement.

Renoir depicts boaters relaxing at the Restaurant Fournaise on a small island in the Seine river. This famous river has of course inspired so many artists over the years, and much of Renoir's best known work was contrived in this region.

Advancements in rail travel across France meant that locations such as this became accessible for short trips to the French middle classes. This painting, therefore, displays graphically an example of French society progressing and goes beyond just simply capturing some boaters enjoying a relaxed lunch.

Luncheon of the Boating Party

This painting, done in the year 1881, was exhibited by Renoir in the seventh Impressionist exhibition which was held in 1882. It bears clear similarities to the title piece of this page, namely The Canoeist's Luncheon / Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise. It is also far better known and, as such, we discuss it here too.

The painting was identified as the best in the exhibition by some critics that were there. The Luncheon of the Boating Party is seen as the hallmark of the impressionist painting.

It has all the trademark characteristics of the impressionist painting and the mastery of color and contrast is phenomenal.

The painting is a combination of figures, landscape and still life all with a great balance. The presence of natural light falling on the painting setting also makes the painting quite unique and exceptional.

Renoir did a flawless job on this paiting and it is one of the most valuable paintings today. The prowess exhibited in the luncheon of the boating party has continued to inspire many painters to experiment and get creative with their work.

The luncheon of the boating party employs most of impressionist painting techniques while adding creativity and paying attention to particular figures. The blend of contrast and light is amazing.

It brings out the colors in a fantastic manner. The painting was able to capture a lot of light coming in from the open end of the balcony. This meant Renoir had to balance this with the other figures in the painting and the outcome was amazing. As it had been his norm Renoir used his friends as characters in his paintings.

On the luncheon of the boating party, he depicted the image of quite a number of his friends. The painting was received well and with huge acclaim when he exhibited it and it has continued to dazzle masses over time. The painting is one of the greatest painting not only among Renoir’s painting but also among the paintings done by the whole of the impressionist association.

Renoir worked with multiple artists across his painting career. He worked with artists in both classical painting and impressionist painting. Renoir worked with Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille in his impressionist works. They all had studied together at the art school in Paris under the instruction of landscape painter Charles Gleyre. Most of Renoir’s paintings always had a landscape touch to them, an aspect that could be credited to the influence of Charles Gleyre on Renoir.

Renoir produced many other amazing paintings across his painting days. Luncheon of the boating party being his most famous and successful painting, he still did other phenomenal and mind-blowing paintings. Among his most notable works are:

Madame Georges Charpentier and Her Children - the painting, otherwise known as, Madame Georges Charpentier et ses infants were done in the year 1878. It is a classical painting that has impressed many across decades. The painting was commissioned by Georges Charpentier and his wife Marguérite after taking a keen interest in the works of Renoir. The painting depicted Marguérite, her three-year-old son, and daughter and a dog. The son and the daughter's dresses are identical. The painting was exhibited at the salon in 1879.