November 22, 2021 2 min read


The Bistro at Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir depicts a typical Sunday afternoon at Moulin de la Galette in the district of Montmartre in 19th Century Paris. An open-air dancehall, Moulin de la Galette was close to Renoir’s home and one he frequently visited. Renoir reveals his true talent in this painting, linking the art of collective portrait, still life, and landscape painting. His use of light as well as his fluidity of brushstrokes is typically Impressionistic. The canvas of the painting was unique as no artist before Renoir had created an image capturing an aspect of daily life of this magnitude: a gathering of miller maids at Paris’s Moulin de la Galette. Bal du le moulin de la Galette is one of Impressionism’s most celebrated masterpieces and has been described as “the most beautiful painting of the 19th century”. As of February 2016, a smaller version of this painting by Renoir stands at 13th place on the inflation adjusted list of the most expensive paintings ever sold.


The Luncheon of the Boating Party is among the most famous paintings of not only Renoir but of the entire Impressionist movement. In it Renoir uses elements of design like balance and harmony and rich colours characteristic of Impressionist style. The painting is a romanticized portrait of Renoir’s friends enjoying an afternoon on a balcony along the Seine River. Among them are Renoir’s future wife Aline Charigot and another famous Impressionist painter, Gustave Caillebotte. Edward G. Robinson said that for thirty years he periodically visited Pierre-Auguste Renoir's masterpiece and stared at it, thinking of ways to steal it.


In his latter years, Renoir concentrated on monumental nudes and domestic scenes. In this painting, which depicts a scene of women bathing, he gives a sculptural quality while the landscape behind them shimmers with impressionistic light. The models for the painting include his future wife Aline Charigot, the blonde sitting behind, and painter Suzanne Valadon, in the foreground.


This painting was a primary display at the first Impressionist exhibition. Pierre Auguste Renoir’s work depicts a fashionable couple seated in the best seats at the theatre. Like many other impressionists, Renoir uses the loge to capture the changing nature of fashionable Parisian society but adds mystery through his narrative. The elegantly dressed woman has lowered her opera glasses, presumably to reveal herself to admirers in the theatre while her companion raises his binoculars, likely to get a closer look at a beautiful woman.


Along with Dance in the City and Dance in the Country, Dance at Bougival is part of a set of three paintings commissioned by Paul Durand-Ruel, one of Renoir´s greatest supporters. A primary attraction of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, it depicts two of Renoir´s friends, Suzanne Valadon and Paul Auguste Llhote. The painting shows the two waltzing and locked in a passionate embrace. It is considered one of Renoir´s first reversions to a more classical style of painting; providing inspiration for several impressionist painters thereafter.
Geoffrey CONCAS
Geoffrey CONCAS