Dance at Bougival (French: La Danse à Bougival) is an 1883 work by Pierre-Auguste Renoir currently in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, Sebastian Smee of The Boston Globe writes that this Renoir painting is “one of the museum’s most beloved works“. (Smee 2014).
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston describes the work:
The open-air cafés of suburban Bougival, on the Seine outside Paris, were popular recreation spots for city dwellers, including the Impressionist painters. Renoir, who was primarily a figure painter, uses intense color and lush brushwork to heighten the sense of pleasure conveyed by the whirling couple who dominate the composition. The woman’s face, framed by her red bonnet, is the focus of attention, both ours and her companion’s.Quote from Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Who Are These Happy People?
The work depicts two of Renoir’s friends, Suzanne Valadon and Paul Lhote. The setting is the French village of Bougival, about 15 km from the center of Paris. Many Impressionists including Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Berthe Morisot, and Renoir painted scenes there.
Renoir’s Style: ‘Classical’ Impressionist?
Renoir’s classical training is evident in Dance at Bougival, yet his bright palette continues to reflect the ideas of his fellow Impressionists. In a February 2012 article for The Economist, Prospero writes that Renoir is “a leading light in the early Impressionist shows,” but says that Renoir never entirely abandoned “his traditional training at the École des Beaux-Arts.” Prospero continues,
By 1883 the young man who had honed his skills copying masterpieces at the Louvre [is] starting to return to a more classical technique. His dilemma, believes Mr. Bailey***, [comes] from wanting to be “an absolutely modern artist without breaking with tradition.” (Prospero, Feb. 2012)
***Prospero is quoting Colin Bailey, the Frick’s chief curator.
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- Dance at Bougival (1883)
- Pierre-Auguste Renoir
- (French, 1841–1919)
- Oil paint on canvas
- 181.9 by 98.1 centimetres (71.6 in × 38.6 in)
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Sebastian Smee (3 August 2014). “MFA expands loans of well-known works”. The Boston Globe, https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/2014/08/02/museum-fine-arts-controversial-lending-program-keeps-works-off-walls/9dsHEU1Faxh8AbKbGRN6LL/story.html (accessed 22 Dec 2018).
“Prospero” (16 February 2012). “Impressionist painting – Sizing up Renoir”. The Economist. The Economist Group, https://www.economist.com/prospero/2012/02/16/sizing-up-renoir, (accessed 22 Dec 2018).
Wikipedia contributors, “Dance at Bougival,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dance_at_Bougival&oldid=856194601 (accessed December 22, 2018).
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