Renoir and Women Models

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.

Nadar (Gaspar-Félix Tournachon), Angèle, Modern silver gelatin print from an original of c. 1878

Nadar (Gaspar-Félix Tournachon), Angèle, Modern silver gelatin print from an original of c. 1878, Caisse Nationale des Monuments Historiques et des Sites, Paris

Renoir celebrated not only natural female beauty but also a woman’s attire and the way in which the line of a dress or shape of a hat could flatter her appearance. The son of a tailor and a dressmaker, he naturally came by this appreciation for line, texture, and style. Friends and mistresses would pose for him as a favor, but he also hired models in Montmartre. Among those who appear in Renoir’s work numerous times in the late 1870s and early 1880s were three actresses—Ellen Andrée, Angèle (who also made a living as a florist), and Jeanne Samary.

Angèle may have modeled for the woman in the lower right corner of Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. Her name was associated with the painting as early as 1891. It is possible, however, since the woman in the painting also resembles Ellen Andrée, that Andrée and Angèle modeled interchangeably as Renoir worked on his grand composition.

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