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The Promenade
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Renoir’s La Promenade raked in a whopping $17.7 million when it sold to the Getty in 1989, so at least the rococo revival benefited somebody.

Seriously, who thought wistfully of the excessive frills and barrage of floral furniture and thought “let’s bring this back?” We all know vintage never goes out of style, but Renoir should have known better than to dabble in the trappings of late baroque ostentation. Thankfully, he mixes in some Courbet and Monet influences, cautiously stepping around the pitfalls of François Boucher. A little bit of realist and impressionist flair does a canvas good.

The brushstrokes and colors in La Promenade are reminiscent of Monet, Renoir’s bosom buddy and impressionist peer. The two had just embarked on an extended bromantic get together, painting the Seine at La Grenouillére. Renoir would even paint Monet’s first wife, Camille Doncieux, preserving her image before Monet’s second wife Alice came along to eradicate all her photographs. This signal of a totally healthy relationship may be why Renoir never bothered to paint Alice. If your friends don’t approve, it’s time to reevaluate.

Unaware of future sorrow in his chum’s family life, Renoir captures a romantic moment in La Promenade. His subjects, a boatman and a walking pile of lace, stroll in the woods of their local park. The couple is wise to opt for seclusion— it’s unlikely PDA was any more acceptable in 1870 than it is now. Pictured is the model Lise Tréhot, with whom Renoir had a secret child or two.

Destroying evidence of past trysts must be a thing for impressionist lovers; Renoir and Tréhot made quite the effort to sponge their juicy past from history. Tréhot destroyed letters from their years together, the next best thing to cropping Renoir out of her profile picture. Looks like painting La Promenade couldn’t make their relationship a walk in the park.

Sources

Sources

  1. “Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.” Claude Monet. Accessed June 17, 2017. https://www.claude-monet.com/monet-and-renoir.jsp.
  2. “La Promenade.” The J. Paul Getty Museum. Accessed June 17, 2017. http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/823/pierre-auguste-renoir-la....
  3. “La Promenade (Renoir).” Wikipedia. October 20, 2016. Accessed June 17, 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Promenade_(Renoir).
  4. “Lise Tréhot.” Wikipedia. December 6, 2016. Accessed June 17, 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lise_Tréhot#Table_row_19.
  5. Muchnic, Suzanne. “Getty Picks Up a 'Delightful' Renoir for $17.7 Million.” Los Angeles Times. April 6, 1989. Accessed June 17, 2017. http://articles.latimes.com/1989-04-06/entertainment/ca-1515_1_renoir-pa....
  6. “Rococo.” Wikipedia. June 7, 2017. Accessed June 17, 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rococo.
  7. Sharrock, David. “The jealous love rival who tried to erase all trace of Monet's muse.” The Guardian. March 5, 2011. Accessed June 17, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2011/mar/06/claude-monet-impres....

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Here is what Wikipedia says about La Promenade (Renoir)

La Promenade is an oil on canvas, early Impressionist painting by the French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, created in 1870. The work depicts a young couple on an excursion outside of the city, walking on a path through a woodland. Influenced by the rococo revival style during the Second Empire, Renoir's La Promenade reflects the older style and themes of eighteenth-century artists like Jean-Honoré Fragonard and Jean-Antoine Watteau. The work also shows the influence of Claude Monet on Renoir's new approach to painting.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about La Promenade (Renoir).