Isn’t it the most detailed work of art around a topic—a lunch party?
There’s scrumptious food, wine, and lovely people, who are immersed in various kinds of activities.
The painting passes off a serene and calm vibe, as if we’re featured in it having delicious brunch with our loved ones on Sunday.
Let me tell you: what you see is actually the message of the painting Luncheon of the Boating Party.
Renoir’s artwork is a tribute to his friends and loved ones.
There are a couple of reasons why he has featured a dozen people in his art, Luncheon of the Boating Party.
Keep reading as we talk about the things that drove him to produce this impressionist painting that garnered love and admiration across the world.
Table of contents
History & Significance
First things first. This is one of the most successful and popular paintings by Renoir.
Renoir, in his early days, was heavily influenced by (Italian) Renaissance artists and their works, which later became a source of inspiration for the Luncheon of the Boating Party.
Paolo Veronese was one such artist that Renoir used to follow. He was a big fan of Veronese’s artwork “The Wedding Feast at Cana”, which also depicted an outdoor dining table scene.
Before getting his hands on the Boating Party art, Renoir spent a lot of time in and around a restaurant called Maison Fournaise, located along the Seine River at Chatou, west of Paris.
Fascinated by its environment, people, and hospitality, Renoir drew it, featuring his friends and the son and daughter of the restaurant owner.
Veronese wasn’t the only inspirational source; there was also Jean-Antoine Watteau’s Embarkation for Cythera.
He was also driven by the work of Rococo artist, Watteau. All this persuaded him to explore art and develop a unique style.
As the years passed, Renoir’s admiration for Watteau grew dramatically. And his further years went into experimenting with different art styles and techniques.
Throughout these years, he discovered a restaurant named Mason Fournaise, where Renoir painted the famous impressionist art, Luncheon of the Boating Party.
Composition and Analysis
Luncheon of the Boating Party’s theme is similar to Renoir’s other work, “Dance at le Moulin de la Galette.”
However, Renoir’s previous artwork doesn’t have defined borders or bright colors, which counts as an indifferent factor between these two Renoir works.
As we already know, the painting featured Renoir’s loved ones.
Let’s take some time out to analyze the Luncheon of the Boating Party’s compositions and figure out who’s who in the painting.
(Also check out the Bal du Moulin De La Galette reproduction painting and order yourself a replica of it, which you can mount on your wall.)
On the left, a lady in a blue dress with a floral hat, who is holding a dog, is Aline Charigot, who later became Renoir’s wife.
The one who is leaning on the railing in the vest is Alphonso Fournaise, the son of the Maison Fournaise’ owner.
The lady next to him is his sister, Louise-Alphonsine Fournaise, who is also leaning on the railing, pondering and gazing at Baron Raoul Barbier.
Baron Raoul Barbier, who is wearing a brown hat, a two-piece brown blazer, is talking to Alphonsine, the daughter of the owner.
The girl who is savoring the drink sitting across the table from Barbier is Ellen Andree. She’s an actress who posed for Renoir; the same model used to pose for Degas and Monet.
Charles Ephrussi, a man in a brown coat, wearing a cap and holding a cigar pipe is having a conversation with Jules Laforgue, who is Russian-born art collector, writer and director of the Gazette des Beaux-Arts.
Pierre is the one in the background who is talking to Jeanne Samary who is looking least interested in the conversations as she is blocking her ears as if Pierre is blabbering. Paul, a writer and very dear friend of Renoir, who is beside them, is looking at Jeanne Samary.
The one who is leaning on Angele, is Antonio Maggiolo, an Italian journalist. Angele is looking at the man in the vest, Gustave Caillebotte, a famous impressionist painter, and singer.
To conclude the Luncheon of the Boating Party analysis, we can see 14 characters performing different activities.
Some are drinking, some are gazing outdoors, some are talking, and some are flirting. It’s a frame of different emotions and vibrant stories you’d want to know more about.
Although every art critic and analyst knew that the boating party painter featured his closest ones, they still didn’t succeed in identifying who was who in the Luncheon of the Boating Party.
But kudos to the German art critic Julius Meier Grafe, who was the first to identify the character in the Luncheon of the Boating Party.
Julius’ observation was quite on-point as he figured out who is the owner of the Mason Fournaise, the son and daughter of Mason Fournaise, the Italian journalist, and others in this Renoir’s largest impressionist painting.
As a viewer, you’ll love the fact that the famous French painter, Renoir, highlighted every character and made them look as if they were involved in some sort of activity—be it making conversation, gazing, drinking, listening, and others.
The most talked about part of the Luncheon of the Boating Party was the exposure of the light on the girl who is leaning on the railing and pondering.
Not a single character was shown under the flash of light except for the lady, who was the daughter of the restaurant owner.
Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party image makes it stand out from others, which also adds the impressionist theme to it.
Another impressionist feature of the Luncheon of the Boating Party is the shimmering of the white tablecloth due to the light, which makes the colors blue, black, and brown dominate the foreground.
Luncheon of the Boating Party Reception & Acquisition
Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party picture/painting is the most viewed and valuable artwork in the Phillips Collection.
The Phillips collection didn’t buy it directly from Renoir’s family members.
The painting Luncheon of the Boating Party was actually owned by Renoir patron Paul Durand-Ruel, who was the painting’s former owner before it was sold to the Phillips family.
The owner of the Phillips Collection’s purchased the Luncheon of the Boating Party from Paul Durand Ruel in 1923 for $125,000.
The art museum owner saw it for the first time in Europe in 1911. He had been chasing it for a decade, and he bought it in 1923, after the death of art patron and collector, Paul Durand Ruel.
Before its acquisition by the Phillips Art Collection, its artist was heavily criticized by Emile Zola, who wrote mean things about him.
Some sources say the Luncheon of the Boating Party was the tight response to Emile, who labeled him sloppy and irrelevant, derogating his artistic career.
Although Renoir abandoned impressionism’s style and technique, The Luncheon of the Boating Party still fell under impressionist art because of its features and compositions.
The Phillips Collection coming into the picture and acquiring it for a humongous amount changed the fate of Renoir’s impressionist artwork.
However, the piece experienced a hard time after its acquisition by the owner of the Phillips Collection.
In 1954, Phillips wanted to have the painting’s various pieces fixed and conserved, which is why he hired two well-known art restorers, Sheldon, and Caroline Keck.
However, Phillips’ decision turned out to be the worst nightmare, as the couple failed to fix a blister on the canvas.
The idea was to fix the faded pieces of the canvas. But they unknowingly ended up in a situation that added a new issue to the existing one while they were using the solvents to clean up the canvas.
A blunder by this couple made the painting face tremendous loss.
They mistakenly tampered with the layer of paint, basically changing the overall appearance of the piece, which gave critics an uninvited chance to jeopardize Phillip’s reputation.
Many people even mocked the owner of the Phillips Collection and labeled him an irresponsible art owner.
Phillip’s terrible decision wasn’t the reason behind people’s agitation. But his lack of knowledge about certain basic things was.
They believed that one should know the basics about aging, as it’s a natural process that can also be seen in art.
Just like human beings, art could even fade and flake away at one point in time.
Art lovers’ anger reached its peak when new Luncheon of the Boating Party pictures came into public view, which was clearly different from the original Renoir artwork.
The worst part of Pierre Auguste Renoir’s impressionist painting controversy was the Kecks’ shameful behavior, as they adamantly defended their work despite being guilty.
The owner of the Luncheon of the Boating Party painting faced several threats and criticism, and the matter even lasted for months.
As years passed by, the matter slowly calmed down, and heated arguments disappeared completely.
Also Read: World’s Most Expensive Artwork Ever Sold
Luncheon of the Boating Party Lesser Known Facts
- Renoir had to use both hands to finish the painting of the Luncheon of the Boating Party as he met with an accident that broke his dominant hand.
- The Luncheon of the Boating Party price may vary between 12 to 15 million dollars.
- The Luncheon of the Boating Party is one of the most famous Renoir Impressionist art.
- Maison Fournaise was not a restaurant anymore but an impressionist heritage.
- The Luncheon of the Boating Party was the most valuable artwork in the Phillips Collection.
- The boating party painter, Pierre Auguste Renoir, didn’t want to categorize it as impressionist art in the first place.
- Renoir was 41 years old when he completed the Luncheon of the Boating Party painting.
(Suggested: Rothko’s No. 61: Rust & Blue)
Could you tell me what the Luncheon of the Boating Party means?
In my opinion, “The Luncheon of the Boating Party” by Renoir means being in the moment.
There is literally everything that keeps you alive at the moment. Good food, good wine, and the best view—what else do you want?
Every Luncheon of the Boating Party model is immersed in something that evokes emotions. But in the end, they are in that moment surrounded by nature.
Even Renoir was in a happy space when he decided to create this painting. His experience with Maison Fournaise was excellent, which inspired him to display the life around it through an impressionist art piece.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s painting was made three centuries ago and is now housed at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., United States.
If you have read this far, you know that the Luncheon of the Boating Party was once severely damaged due to the negligence of art restorers.
However, the owner left no stone unturned to figure out a way.
Pierre Auguste Renoir’s most famous painting, The Painting Luncheon of the Boating Party is now in safe hands at the Phillips Collection.
You can view this at the Art Museum in Washington, D.C.
Or else you can have a replica of Luncheon of the Boating Party made by experts.
You can even mount any of your favorite Renoir painting replicas on your wall. There are dozens of options, from “Dance at the Moulin De La Galette” to “Dance at Bougival”.
Frequently Asked Questions
The French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted the Luncheon of the Boating Party.
Renoir took six months to finish working on the Luncheon of the Boating Party painting
The Luncheon of the Boating Party was famously known for Le déjeuner des canotiers
The first reason was its depiction, as it showed the excellence of the artist in impressionist art. The second reason was its demand and value, as it was bought for a heavy sum of $125,000 by an industrialist who had been chasing it for over a decade.
Luncheon of the Boating Party was the most famous impressionist painting by Renoir.
Renoir painted the Luncheon of the Boating Party during his stay at the restaurant Mason Fournaise.
The Luncheon of the Boating Party is the most-viewed work of art in the Phillips Collection.
The Luncheon of the Boating Party made its first appearance in 1911. However, the location where it was displayed for the first time remained unidentified.
Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party is worth over 12 million dollars and it can even be more as the Luncheon party art isn’t for sale.