National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Pont Neuf, Paris Auguste Renoir (artist)
French, 1841 - 1919
Pont Neuf, Paris, 1872
oil on canvas
overall: 75.3 x 93.7 cm (29 5/8 x 36 7/8 in.) framed: 99.4 x 118.7 x 14 cm (39 1/8 x 46 3/4 x 5 1/2 in.)
Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection
1970.17.58
Not on View
From the Tour: Impressionism
Object 4 of 8

Although he is best known for his figures, especially nudes, Renoir's originality as a landscape painter was instrumental in the formation of impressionism. In paintings like this he transcribed the immediate and fleeting effects of light on the senses. We almost squint at these backlit forms. Figures are defined by a few quick strokes, and incidental details disappear in the glare of bright sun. The pavement is yellow with this light, brighter even than the sun-drenched sky. Shadows fall, not black or gray but in cool blue tones.

Among the energetic crowd crossing the Pont Neuf, Paris the oldest bridge in Paris, one man appears twice. Sporting a straw boater and carrying the boulevardier's cane, this is Renoir's brother Edmond, dispatched by the artist to delay people on the street. Edmond later explained that while passersby paused to answer his idle questions, Renoir was able to capture their appearance from this window above a nearby Right Bank café.

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