Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Luncheon of the Boating Party is on display ay the Community Centre in Garden Street

Famed for his sensual nudes and charming scenes of pretty women, Auguste Renoir was a far more complex and thoughtful painter than generally assumed. He was a founding member of the Impressionist movement, nevertheless he ceased to exhibit with the group after 1877. From the 1880s until well into the twentieth century, he developed a monumental, classically inspired style that influenced such avant-garde giants as Pablo Picasso.

Renoir began his artistic career as a porcelain painter; however, his ambitions to become a professional artist prompted him to seek other instruction. He began copying paintings at the Louvre in 1860 and eventually entered the studio of the academic artist Charles Gleyre, where he met Claude Monet, Frédéric Bazille, and Alfred Sisley. The four friends soon began painting in the forest of Fontainebleau, although Renoir always remained dedicated to figure painting and portraits. His early female nudes were heavily influenced by the earthy palette and buxom figure types of Realist painter Gustave Courbet.

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Portrait of Renoir by Marie-Félix Hippolyte-Lucas (1854-1925), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Luncheon of the Boating Party (Le déjeuner des canotiers)

Le déjeuner des canotiers
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
(Luncheon of the Boating Party)
The Phillips Collection], Washington, DC


The painting, combining figures, still-life, and landscape in one work, depicts a group of Renoir’s friends relaxing on a balcony at the Maison Fournaise restaurant along the Seine river in Chatou, France.

Renoir’s future wife, Aline Charigot, is in the foreground playing with a small dog; she replaced an earlier woman who sat for the painting but with whom Renoir became annoyed.

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