Bandonéon Basics with Phillips Music

Street Tango. Buenos Aires, La Boica 2011

I love when Phillips Music gets its hands on a musical instrument we’ve never featured before! This Sunday, we will have classical guitarist Jason Vieaux performing with Julien Labro, who is proficient in playing the accordion and bandonéon. Naturally this raises the question, to most of us, what is a bandonéon?

A bandonéon, in fact, is a type of concertina. Similar to the accordion, it is played by holding the instrument between both hands and pushing in or pulling out, while pressing the buttons with the fingers. Unlike an accordion, however, these buttons all correlate to individual notes, and so chords are played by pressing combinations of buttons at the same time. Bandonéons are often square or hexagonal in shape with beveled edges and unusually long bellows. I’ve found a decent photo of one (caption below) and a video with a very familiar refrain—La Cumparsita (when I think of tango, this is what I hear in my head).

Kathryn Rogge, Manager of Academic Programs & Phillips Music

Exploring the Seine

Each week for the duration of the exhibition, we’ll focus on one work of art from Renoir and Friends: Luncheon of the Boating Party, on view October 7, 2017-January 7, 2018.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, The Seine at Chatou, 1874

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, The Seine at Chatou (La Seine à Chatou), 1874. Oil on canvas, 20 × 25 in. Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

As early as 1869, Pierre-Auguste Renoir was exploring the banks of the Seine River west of Paris, seeking subjects for his developing Impressionist style, often painting outdoor landscapes with his friend Claude Monet. His mother lived near Louveciennes, not far from Chatou, where he would frequent the Maison Fournaise with its restaurant, lodging, and boats for hire. The Maison Fournaise would become the backdrop for his masterwork Luncheon of the Boating Party (1880-81), with members of the Fournaise family serving as models. In this lively rendering of a gusty day on the water, Renoir includes a sailboat, signaling in his painting the growing popularity of the sport.

Gustave Caillebotte the Yachtsman

Each week for the duration of the exhibition, we’ll focus on one work of art from Renoir and Friends: Luncheon of the Boating Party, on view October 7, 2017-January 7, 2018.

Gustave Caillebotte, Sailboats on the Seine at Argenteuil, 1893

Gustave Caillebotte, Sailboats on the Seine at Argenteuil (Voiliers sur la Seine à Argenteuil), 1893. Oil on canvas; 28 7⁄8 × 17 in. Private collection

Like his good friend and fellow artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Gustave Caillebotte spent a significant amount of time on the Seine west of Paris painting scenes such as this one. Caillebotte was born into a family that made its money in the textile business and inherited a fortune. As a young man at his family’s country retreat on the Yerres River, he enjoyed rowing and paddling in skiffs. He eventually purchased his own property on the Seine in nearby Petit-Gennevilliers, which became a perfect base from which to participate in regattas and to develop his skills as a yachtsman. By 1879, Caillebotte owned his own sailboat, participated in regattas in Argenteuil, and had joined the Cercle de la Voile de Paris (Sailing Club of Paris); he became a vice president of the club in 1880.

Renoir depicted Caillebotte in Luncheon of the Boating Party—he is the athletic man in the lower right, dressed for boating, with the hat not of an oarsman but of a gentleman sailor, and he appears to look right past all who surround him to the boats and the river beyond the balcony. Boating scenes were ideal for the two Impressionists, in its combination of a fashionable, contemporary subject with the painterly challenge of capturing sunlit figures and the river’s reflective surface.