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.
The model for this painting is thought to be Alphonsine Fournaise, whom Renoir often saw at the Maison Fournaise in Chatou in the late 1870s. She posed for him regularly during the years leading up to Luncheon of the Boating Party. Although there is no direct evidence that Alphonsine modeled for the young woman leaning on the railing of the balcony in the grand composition, she may have occasionally joined the clientele at the Fournaise in such a way.
Installed just to the left of this lovely portrait is a smaller, almost sketch-like painting. This quickly executed oil study was probably a gift from Renoir to Alphonsine Fournaise to thank her for modeling for him. In 1864 she married Louis Joseph Papillon, and we know that a Madame Papillon once owned this piece.