La Grenouillère (1869) is a painting by French Impressionist artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. "Grenouillère" is the French word for "frog pond", which is the name for the location shown in the painting.
The Frog Pond was a meeting place on the Seine river near Bougival, France where fashionable and middle-class citizens met for drinking, swimming and dancing. There was a restaurant on a barge and a small island with a willow tree, as seen in the painting. The island was called "Pots de fleurs" or "the flower pot" and was the place for conversations before entering the restaurant. Monsieur Fournaise, the owner of The Frog Pond, would often allow Renoir and Monet to give him paintings in exchange for food as the artists were struggling financially. The depiction of this popular meeting place is very accurate based on actual photographs and the pleasant atmosphere of The Frog Pond is heightened by Renoir's skill. Claude Monet was the main artist behind Impressionism and Renoir worked closely alongside him to develop the techniques and values of the artistic movement. They often painted together, which is the case for La Grenouillère.
Renoir and Monet painted this exact scene side by side but each represented it slightly differently. Renoir's version is considered to be more representative of the people who would frequent this popular location compared to Monet whose painting presents a bigger picture. The artist also created a second painting in the same region. Renoir is known for paying more attention to human subjects, which is no exception to this painting as they are more in focus. Renoir also uses more bright colors while Monet employs more shadow. Both paintings demonstrate the techniques of Impressionism with their emphasis on lighting, the appearance of being unfinished, and the use of quick, small brush strokes. La Grenouillère is also an example of the use of diffuse reflection that was discovered by Monet and Renoir. This effect explains that the color of shadows is based on their surroundings rather than being either black or brown. La Grenouillère was painted early in Renoir's career but it sets the stage for the rest of Renoir's famous Impressionist works. This painting is currently held in Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, Sweden.
The Nationalmuseum in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, has the ownership of this famous painting. They also have original artworks from the likes of Rembrandt, Goya, Degas, Rubens and Gauguin in their permanent collection. In terms of local artists, Anders Zorn is also particularly well represented here and his style bears similarities with that of Renoir, during the latter's spell within the Impressionist movement. Within Scandinavia, it is certainly one of the finest art institutions, with several across in Oslo, Norway that are also significant on a global scale. Whilst Norwegian art will always be dominated by Expressionist artist, Edvard Munch, Swedish art history has a number of names which provide the highlights of their creative offerings.
Tom Gurney in an art history expert. He received a BSc (Hons) degree from Salford University, UK, and has also studied famous artists and art movements for over 20 years. Tom has also published a number of books related to art history and continues to contribute to a number of different art websites. You can read more on Tom Gurney here.