Thursday, August 13, 2020

‘Luncheon of the Boating Party’

 From ArtNet:

Outdoor dining is the necessary rage in 2020, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s sumptuous The Luncheon of the Boating Party (1881) is one of the most idyllic images of its charms. Now in the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, the painting’s ode to al fresco fun is both well-known and well-loved—but there are plenty of layers to the image too. Measuring an impressive 51 by 68 inches, The Luncheon of the Boating Party is among the largest canvases Renoir ever made—and one of the most complex. It took sixteen arduous months to complete this image of casual leisure. As he said of the painting, “every once in a while you must attempt things that seem too difficult.”

 It depicts a real place: Maison Fournaise of Chatou, a beloved floating restaurant moored along the Seine River, where hungry canoeists could paddle up to the restaurant. Renoir worked on the giant canvas in different locations: en plein air at Maison Fournaise (painting outdoors was common for the Impressionists, but rarely at this scale), and in his studio to capture the likenesses of the fourteen separate sitters, who were impossible to get together all at once. (Read more.)


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