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Artist: Auguste Renoir
(Limoges, 1841 – Cagnes-sur-Mer, 1919)

Date: between 1885 and 1886
Medium: watercolour on paper
Dimensions: 304 × 475 mm
Classification: drawing
Inventory Number: 1935-2762
Department: Prints and Drawings

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Like many Impressionist painters, Renoir's career was slow getting off the ground. Since the Paris Salon persistently rejected his paintings, he joined the group of Impressionists led by Monet. Though he is considered a founder of the movement, he was more closely bound to traditional subjects than his fellow Impressionists. He greatly admired the art of Raphael and Ingres, and following in their footsteps he was preoccupied with figurative art. He also transferred the experience of plein air painting into his studio compositions, with consummate skill. The protagonists of his pictures, with their vibrant luminosity and shot colours, are almost always human figures; one of his favourite recurrent subjects was the female nude.
During the 1870s and '80s Renoir was fond of representing merry companies rowing up and down the Seine. In his boating works the features of his model and later wife Aline Charigot, can often be identified. Renoir spent July 1886 in La Roche-Guyon on the banks of the Seine. The Budapest watercolour captures a moment from this summer, and in a typically Impressionist style the painter suggests the surroundings with easy brushstrokes and diaphanous colours. As well as the main scene, the artist drew the figures' faces elsewhere too: while the man's features are sketched with delicate brushstrokes, Aline's face is worked out in detail on the far right.

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