An Intimate Exchange

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, Boating Couple, 1880–81

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Boating Couple (Les Canotiers), 1880–81. Pastel on paper, 17 3/4 × 23 in. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Given in memory of Governor Alvan T. Fuller by the Fuller Foundation

The young woman in this exceptional pastel drawing wears a ring on her third finger and holds a bouquet of violets. She gazes into her partner’s eyes and is clearly the object of his affection. This intimate pair is thought to represent Renoir with Aline Charigot, his future wife. During the summer of 1880 the couple spent an increasing amount of time together. This artwork is one of quite a few from this moment in Renoir’s career in which he may reference himself as the male protagonist engaged in an intimate exchange with a young woman generally assumed to be Charigot. Her straw hat, with a silk flower embellishing the ribbon, looks similar to the one worn by Charigot in Luncheon of the Boating Party, whereas he appears to be wearing the jacket donned by writer and critic Adrien Maggiolo in the painting.

First Look: William Merritt Chase

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Entrance to special exhibition William Merritt Chase: A Modern Master

William Merritt Chase: A Modern Master opens this Saturday, June 4! Here’s a sneak peek of some the galleries.

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Installation view of special exhibition William Merritt Chase: A Modern Master.

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Installation view of special exhibition William Merritt Chase: A Modern Master.

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Installation view of special exhibition William Merritt Chase: A Modern Master.

 

Responding to Monet’s Water Lilies

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Claude Monet, Water Lily Pond, 1919. Oil on canvas, 39 3/8 x 78 7/8 in. Paul G. Allen Family Collection

This is not my first time seeing Monet’s famous water lilies. I remember going to the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris as a child—first with my father, later with my grandparents. At the Orangerie, the water lilies hang in a circular room, towering over you as you sit in the middle of the room. It almost seems as if you’re sitting in the middle of the pond.

When I saw the water lilies for the first time, my eyesight was like that of a hawk. Now, the colors come together in a blur; I can hardly discern where the green from the water lilies ends and where the green of the pond begins. The shapes and the strokes melt away. When I was a child, I could see each stroke from across the room. Like Monet, my eyesight grows worse. Like Monet, my vision blurs. If I were to paint, like Monet my paintings would become more and more abstract.

Olivia Bensimon, Marketing & Communications Intern