Renoir: Dance at Bougival (1883)

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

Another Favorite

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
tScreenshot_2018-12-24 Dance-At-Bougival jpg (JPEG Image, 2301 × 4366 pixels)
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 , (detail).

Who Are These Happy People?

The work depicts two of Renoir’s friends, Suzanne Valadon and Paul Lhote.[3][4] 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.

fScreenshot_2018-12-24 dance-at-bougival-32592_2 jpg (JPEG Image, 2336 × 1742 pixels)
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 , (detail).

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.

wScreenshot_2018-12-24 renoir_dance_at_-b-e1545669074909 jpg (JPEG Image, 823 × 1541 pixels)
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 , (detail).


Click For Enlarged Detail

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Sebastian Smee (3 August 2014). “MFA expands loans of well-known works”. The Boston Globe, (accessed 22 Dec 2018).

“Prospero” (16 February 2012). “Impressionist painting – Sizing up Renoir”. The Economist. The Economist Group,, (accessed 22 Dec 2018).

Wikipedia contributors, “Dance at Bougival,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed December 22, 2018).

Thanks for Visiting 🙂


29 Comments Add yours

  1. JMN says:

    I relish the detail. It really helps me as an amateur painter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! Well, I have enjoyed your paintings very much, and hope to see many more. Just call me a ‘want to be’ amateur painter who may never have the courage to even try it myself – But I do love finding a copyright free images with high enough resolution to see brushstrokes. Rarely am I successful, but I do enjoy the hunt. 😉 Thanks so much for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. JMN says:

        Very kind of you. Please keep up your hunt. Whatever I know I learn from looking at paintings, and I love to study the brushstrokes and handling of pigment.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Tanya says:

    Such master of art, the details the colour amazing , Renoir is simply great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I get a high resolution Renoir image to study enlarged, I get very happy. Who says women are hard to please? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tanya says:

        I know his paintings have feminine delicacy and such craftsmanship!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Tanya says:

    I might pen poem on his paintings will share with you! I am inspired!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perfect! I will look forward to that! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hélène Vaillant says:

    Thank you, it was lovely reading this post.🙂❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you like it, Hélène! Thank you for visiting! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

    Very interesting! It’s like HD in paint format!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lolol… Yes!! I just updated this one with better resolution images….they make me HAPPY! 😎

      Liked by 1 person

  6. chris ludke says:

    His paintings are beautiful and painted with love. I don’t understand why they are trying to x his work out of museums. I remember seeing people protesting outside of the museum in Chicago, I think it was before covid, to take his paintings down. Was it because he’s a dead white guy? Or maybe they h8 that he showed his classical training, because that’s not good these days. Or maybe the joy is offensive to the modern art viewer. Do you remember seeing the protest?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t remember the protest, but sadly I am not surprised. You ask good questions, Chris.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. chris ludke says:

        Just trying to make sense of it, but I don’t get it. They h8 his paintings but they love Picasso and he’s a dead white guy too but maybe they like Picasso because he painted women ugly. Whothehell knows?! Even Degas painted female models with a flat blank face without features, which I don’t like, but there it is in the one of a lady trying on hats. To me, the flat blank face is more offensive than the beautiful girls Renoir painted. But Renoir is getting the ax! Eventually the museums will cave in to the pressure and the Renoirs will be warehoused out of view except online. Thanks for letting me opine.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t understand selective outrage, either. Blank faces bother me, too. After learning the story of Florence Carter-Wood and Alfred Munnings and seeing how he painted her in ‘Portrait of Florence Munnings at Sunset’, I have not been able to look at his other paintings with my previous enthusiasm. Not because he is a dead white guy, but because he abused his young wife. As for responding to this madness about Renoir, I will POST MORE RENOIR!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. chris ludke says:

        Yeah, the blank faces tell me the artist sees the woman as subhuman. That’s why I don’t like Degas anymore. And Renoir’s beautiful girls get exed out of the culture?! They are doing that. Good ! Post more Renoir! Fight the f—-d up system!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. One of my favorite paintings by my favorite artist 🙂 Saddened to learn that there’s some controversy about his work or his life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree! Thanks for visiting, Rosaliene.


  8. Beautiful work, love the use of bold colors, I fing it interesting that all focus is on the young lady in the red bonnet, the man’s intense gaze upon her face, yet the young woman seems to be off in another world, not realizing the focus upon her, unaware of her dancer intensity as if gazing at her soul.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have wondered if she might be very accustomed to male admiration and a little bored…lol (?) I love the colors, too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Bee. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Your welcome and thank you ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  10. rothpoetry says:

    Lovely painting and post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of my all time favorites! Thanks for visiting, Dwight. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rothpoetry says:

        you are welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

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