Pierre-Auguste Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party has several of the stylistic elements which are commonly associated with Impressionist painters.
The artist uses flickering light to great effect in this work and viewers are drawn in by the lifelike atmosphere produced with the technique.
This painting was completed in 1881 and was first purchased by Paul Durand-Ruel. Art dealers around Paris knew Durand-Ruel as an art patron who gave immense support to Impressionist artists.
His focus was also on the Barbizon School, which tended to explore realism in paintings. Artists are often known to struggle for a time before their work starts to give them financial rewards.
Paul Durand-Ruel supported several artists in Paris in their journey to greatness by providing them with stipends and funding solo exhibitions.
Award-Winning Work With Personal Meaning
Incorporated into the Seventh Exhibition of the Impressionists in 1882, Luncheon of the Boating Party was recognised as the highlight of the show by several commentators. This famous work by Renoir is otherwise called Le Déjeuner des Canotiers.
It was done at the point when Renoir's Impressionist vocation had soared to its peak. Luncheon of the Boating Party has personal significance for Renoir and is one of the artist's last works portraying a friendly scene from his life.
The canvas displays a blend of figures, still-life and engaging scenery in one work. A gathering of Renoir's companions unwind at the Maison Fournaise eatery. This location is along the picturesque Seine waterway in Chatou, France.
Renoir frequently included dear companions in his artistic creations. In this canvas he shows his future spouse, Aline Charigot. The painter and patron, Gustave Caillebotte, is situated at the lower right of the scene.
Renoir's future spouse, is closer to the viewer. She is seen playing with a little puppy. Products of the soil enhance the scene on the table. Some critics feel that Renoir depicts his affection for Aline by isolating her from the others. In the painting, she takes the leading role. She does not take part in the discussion or tease. Perhaps Renoir is showing that her attentions are reserved for him.
A Popular Setting
Luncheon of the Boating Party by Renoir still remains the best known gem at The Phillips Collection. This was exactly how art investor Duncan Phillips envisioned it would be at the point when he purchased it in 1923. The savvy investor perhaps recognised that people from any culture would be able to relate to the scene of a group of friends sharing a memorable time together. The beauty of the brushstrokes ensures that this is a piece that will not fade in its appeal with time.
The artistic creation catches the general mood of the popular venue and a charming climate as Renoir's companions share nourishment, wine and discussion. The Seine would have been an ideal place to relax and the Maison Fournaise eatery in Chatou was one of the most well-known venues for friends and family who wanted good wine and food. Parisians also went to the Maison Fournaise to lease paddling rowboats or remain for the night.
Numerous history specialists feel that Luncheon of the Boating Party was a reaction to a test by celebrated author and pundit Emile Zola. Zola denounced the work of the Impressionists. He felt that they constructed each scene in a fragmented and overstated way. Zola challenged the Impressionists to create more current depictions of everyday life. Some think that Renoir's aspiring venture with Luncheon of the Boating Party is his reaction to Zola's challenge.
Creating Luncheon of the Boating Party
Renoir appears to have made this scene by investing months rolling out various improvements to the canvas. He painted the individual figures whenever his models were accessible. Even though it took a while in any case, Renoir held the freshness of his vision. He remained consistent even as he reconsidered the placement of different elements in the painting, revamped the work on canvas and eventually created a perfect show-stopper.
The painting may be divided into two sections from one corner to another by using the railing. This serves to outline the two parts of the structure, one thickly pressed with figures, the other empty of everything except Louise-Alphonsine Fournaise and Alphonse Fournaise, Jr. Their presence is made more noticeable by this differentiation. Renoir draws the attention of viewers to them subtly, even as the subjects seem to be unaware and are engrossed in other activities that command their attention.
Impressionists are well known for the skill they display with utilising light in their work. Renoir is known as one of the greatest Impressionists who ever lived. In this depiction he has caught a lot of light and used it to bring life to the composition. The fundamental concentration of light is originating from the huge opening in the gallery. The attire of both males in the painting work to mirror this radiance and disperse it through the entire composition.
This work of art mirrors the changing character of French society in the mid-to late nineteenth century. The Maison Fournaise eatery in Chatou invited clients of many classes, including agents, society ladies, performers, authors and shop clerks. This differing bunch encapsulated another, cutting edge Parisian culture.
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.