Set against a light background, this contrasting painting is in the impressionist style. The model posing in the painting is believed to Margo, who appears to be contemplative.
Most prominent is the blue dress, whose outlines are diffuse. In keeping with the Impressionist style, mostly light colours and mixed brush strokes are used.
The oil on canvas Young Woman in Bright Blue at the Conservatory is a warm, sedate, and intimate. Moderate to light blue tones are used, brightening the painting. Splashes of green, beige, and yellow are painted with quick brush strokes. Renoir was a prolific painter of family portraits, landscapes, sceneries, and figures, although he preferred painting of the female form the most.
His nude paintings captured his subjects in mundane poses and were not sensationalist, offensive, violent, or gaudy. He often worked on several paintings at the same time.
Renoir is regarded as the leading figure of Impressionism and famed for painting with vibrant colours and varied brush strokes. He rarely blended his colours and preferred using soft edges to show the effects of light in a painting. Renoir’s works were not harsh or abrasive.
He and other unconventional artists like Monet and Pissarro started the Independents (The Anonymous Society of Artists), in response to the traditionalist attitude of the Salon de Paris.
Light and colour dictated the form and the outline of Renoir’s paintings when he painted in the Impressionist style, so his works often appeared more like incomplete sketches than actual paintings, much to the disapproval of critics and the Salon. Renoir had spent time as a porcelain painter and had learned how to combine different colours well.
It was known he used only five colours in his palette. On a trip to Italy, Renoir saw the works of the Renaissance artists Raphael, Velazquez, and Rubens, which had marked impact on him. This motivated him to vary his style and try a more traditional approach. He started to focus more on shape and line than brush strokes and colour.
As shown in the work Les Grandes eBaignuses, form is clearly defined and the depth of colour is superficial. The work is solid and delineated compared to his Impressionist-style paintings like Young Woman in Bright Blue at the Conservatory.
Pierre Auguste Renoir was 78 when he died on 3 December 1919. The Barnes foundation in Philadelphia houses 181 paintings at present, including notable works such as Woman Crocheting, Young Woman holding a Cigarette, and Bowl. Perhaps, Renoir’s most notable impact on Impressionism was showing the human body in changing light conditions.