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Musée Fournaise - Pierre Auguste Renoir  
Sous le pinceau de Pierre Auguste Renoir
Water and Light
Rameurs à Chatou - 1879
"Rameurs à Chatou" (Rowers at Chatou) – 1879
In 1868, Pierre Auguste Renoir discovered Chatou and it’s enchanting scenery whilst walking with Prince Bibesco, a regular guest of the Restaurant Fournaise. With Claude Monet, Renoir started to paint at the nearby floating café La Grenouillere, two miles from Chatou.

In their prime, (neither artist had reached thirty), Renoir and Monet undertook a series of paintings focusing on water, light and boating. These reoccurring themes are often thought to represent the pinnacle of Impressionism. Chatou and it’s surrounding area started to define the essence of the movement and the joy of boating.

Renoir resided and painted in the area, on a regular basis from, 1868 – 1884.
The rowers and La Maison Fournaise immortalised by Renoir
Renoir immortalised the rowers at La Maison Fournaise by painting Alphonsine Fournaise, her father, several landscapes and most notably, one of his most important masterpieces, " Le Déjeuner des Canotiers"

le déjeuner des canotiers - 1881 - Pierre Auguste Renoir
"Le Déjeuner des Canotiers"

Oil on canvas - 129 x 172 cm
USA, Washington,
Phillips Collection


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On the balcony of the Fournaise Restaurant a group of Parisians are dining by the river seine. In the background are the boats upon the water and the bridge of the railway connecting Chatou to the Saint Lazare Station, Paris. The scene is bathed in a warm, glowing light.

The fourteen characters are divided into smaller groups that are involved in lively conversation with one another.Renoir wished to paint his subject to reflect everyday modern life - in order to exhibit his work at the official Salon Des Arts. The famous collector, Durand-Ruel, however, acquired it for the 7th Impressionist Exhibition, despite the artist’s reticence to exhibit at this particular venue.

Renoir reveals his true talent in this picture. It is a major composition that links the art of collective portrait, still life, and landscape painting.
The identity of the characters remains uncertain but the following theory is the most valid suggestion to date.
"La danse à la campagne"
"La danse à la campagne"

Oil on Canvas
180 x 90 cm
Paris, Orsay museum
"La Grenouillère" – 1869
"La Grenouillère" – 1869
Oil on Canvas - 59 x 80 cm
Moscow, Pouchkine museum of Fine arts
"La Grenouillère" – 1869
"La Grenouillère" – 1869
Oil on Canvas - 66 X 86 cm -
Stockholm, National museum
"Jeune fille dans une barque" – 1877
"Jeune fille dans une barque" – 1877
Oil on Canvas - 73 x 92 cm
USA, New-York – Collection D. Lasker
"Alphonsine Fournaise" – 1879
"Alphonsine Fournaise" – 1879
Oil on Canvas - 73.5 x 93 cm
Paris, Orsay Museum
"Monsieur Fournaise" – 1875
"Monsieur Fournaise" – 1875
Oil on Canvas - 55,9 x 47 cm
USA, Williamstown
"Le Déjeuner des Rameurs ou Au bord de la Rivière" – 1879
"Le Déjeuner des Rameurs ou Au bord de la Rivière" – 1879 - Oil on Canvas - 54 x 65 cm
USA, Chicago, The Art Institute