Overview

While his figure paintings are better known, Renoir's landscapes resonate with a vigor and freshness of vision central to the development of impressionism, most apparent here in his transcription of the effects of sunlight. Midday sun suffuses the panorama, its intensity heightening the artist's palette and suppressing incidental detail to clarify the crowded scene.

Edmond Renoir, the artist's younger brother and a novice journalist in 1872, later recounted the inception of this painting in an interview. He told how Renoir secured an owner's permission to occupy an upper floor of a café for one day to depict the view of the famous bridge. Edmond periodically delayed passersby long enough for the artist to record their appearance. Renoir even noted Edmond's presence, walking stick in hand and straw boater on his head, in two locations.

If, as Edmond indicated, Pont Neuf, Paris was painted during a single day, it was preceded by careful preparations, possibly including preliminary delineation of the permanent architectural features. The painting seems more richly nuanced and the subject laden with broader meaning than Edmond's anecdote would suggest. Painted in the wake of the Franco–Prussian War and ensuing civil strife that had devastated France in 1870 and 1871, Renoir's 1872 image shows a representative sampling of French citizenry crossing the oldest bridge in Paris, the intact heart of the recovering country.

Inscription

lower left: A. Renoir. 72.

Marks and Labels

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Provenance

The artist; (his sale, Paris, 24 March 1875, no. 42); purchased by (Durand-Ruel, Paris); sold to Nicolas Auguste Hazard [1834-1913], Paris; (Hazard sale, Paris, 1 December 1919, no. 206); purchased by Georges Bernheim, Paris; sold 1921 to Ralph M. Coe, Cleveland; on joint account with (Carroll Carstairs, New York) and (M. Knoedler & Co., New York) by 1935;[1] from whom acquired 1936 by Marshall Field [1893-1956], New York;[2] Dr. and Mrs. [née Barbara Field] Robert Boggs, New York, NY, USA; Mr. and Mrs. Peter Benziger [Mrs. Benziger was previously Mrs. Boggs]. (M. Knoedler and Co., London, New York, and Paris); sold December 1966 to Ailsa Mellon Bruce [1901-1969]; bequest 1970 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1920
Tableaux, Pastels, Dessins par Renoir, Galeries Durand-Ruel, Paris, November-December 1920, no. 15.
1922
Loan to display with permanent collection, Cleveland Museum of Art, 1922-1924.
1924
Exhibition of Paintings: Edouard Manet, Pierre Renoir, Berthe Morisot, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 1924, no. 8.
1924
Loan to display with permanent collection, Cleveland Museum of Art, 1924-1925.
1925
Exhibition of Masterpieces by Renoir for the benefit of Hope Farm, Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York, 1935, no. 25.
1929
Exhibition of French Painting of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1929, no. 76, repro.
1931
Loan to display with permanent collection, Cleveland Museum of Art, 1931-1933.
1933
Manet and Renoir, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1933, unnumbered checklist.
1935
French Impressionists and After, Carroll Carstairs, New York, December 1935 - January 1936, no. 2.
1935
Masterpieces by Renoir, Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York, 1935, no. 25.
1937
Renoir, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1937, no. 2, repro.
1938
Honderd Jaar Fransche Kunst, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1938, no. 201.
1940
Masterpieces of Art. European & American Paintings 1500-1900, New York World's Fair, 1940, no. 335, repro.
1941
Renoir: Centennial Loan Exhibition, Duveen Galleries, New York, 1941, no. 3, repro.
1943
From Paris to the Sea: Down the River Seine, Wildenstein Galleries, New York, 1943, no. 10.
1944
Paris: A Loan Exhibition, Coordinating Council of French Relief Societies, New York, December 1943 - Janaury 1944, no. 14, repro.
1954
Benefit for the North Shore Hospital, Country Art Gallery, Westbury, Long Island, 1954, unnumbered checklist.
1958
Loan Exhibition: Renoir for the Benefit of the Citizens' Committee for Children of New York City, Inc., Wildenstein, New York, 1958, no.4, repro.
1959
Masterpieces of Impressionist and Post Impresionst Painting, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959, unnumbered cat., repro.
1966
Impressionist Treasures from Private Collections in New York, M. Knoedler & Co., New York, 1966, no. 29, repro.
1982
Manet and Modern Paris, National Gallery of Art, 1982-1983, no. 5, repro.
1985
Renoir, Hayward Gallery, London; Grand Palais, Paris; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1985-1986, no. 20 (French cat.), no. 21 (English cat.), repro.
1986
Capolavori Impressionisti dei Musei Americani, Museo e Gallerie Nazionali di Capodimonte, Naples; Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, 1986-1987, no. 39, repro.
1986
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, State Hermitage Museum, Leningrad; State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, 1986, no. 27, repro.
1990
Französische Impressionisten und ihre Wegbereiter aus der National Gallery of Art, Washington und dem Cincinnati Art Museum, Neue Pinakothek, Munich, 1990, no. 47, repro.
1999
Around Impressionism: French Paintings from the National Gallery of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1999, no cat.
1999
Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, 1999, no. 32, repro.
2007
Renoir Landscapes 1865-1883, The National Gallery, London; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2007-2008, no. 12, repro., as _The Pont Neuf_ (shown only in Philadelphia).
2011
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The National Art Center, Tokyo; Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, 2011, no. 42, repro.

Bibliography

1910
Duret, Théodore. Manet and the French Impressionists. Translated by J.E. Crawford Flitch. London and Philadelphia, 1910:164.
1925
Vollard, Ambroise. Renoir: An intimate Record. New York, 1925: 77, 237.
1929
Meier-Graefe, Julius. Renoir. Leipzig, 1929: repro. p. 48, no. 33.
1935
Barnes, Albert C. and Violette de Mazia. The Art of Renoir. New York, 1935: 50n-52, 200n, 383, 444, no. 26.
1935
"Works by Renoir." The Connoisseur 95 (May 1935): 305-306, repro.
1936
"Art Throughout America: New York: A Famous Renoir Sold." Art News 35 (28 November 1936): 17.
1937
McBride, Henry. "The Renoirs in America: In Appreciation of the Metropolitan Museum's Exhibition," Art News 35, no. 31 (1 May 1937): 60.
1938
Florisoone, Michel. Renior. Paris, 1938: repro. 111.
1939
Venturi, Lionello. Les archives de l'impressionnisme. 2 vols. Paris and New York, 1939: I:32, II:334-338.
1940
Wilenski, R.H. Modern French Painters. New York, 1940:339.
1941
Frankfurter, Alfred M. "Celebrating Renoir's Centenary: A Bright Galaxy." Art News 40, no. 15 (15 November 1940): 16, repro.
1943
"Artists Who Painted "Down the River Seine'." Art News 17, no. 9 (1 February 1943): 6, repro.
1944
Drucker, Michel. Renoir. New York, 1944: 150, 151,183.
1944
Frost, Rosamund. Pierre Auguste Renoir. New York, 1944: 8, 42, repro.
1945
Rewald, John. "Auguste Renoir and His Brother." Gazette des Beaux-Arts VI, vol. 26, no. 3 (March 1945): 180-182, repro.
1946
Rewald, John. The History of Impressionism. New York, 1946: 235 repro, 289.
1950
Pach, Walter. Pierre Auguste Renoir. New York, 1950:40, repro.
1952
Fox, Milton S. Renoir. New York, 1952: 3, repro pl. 5
1952
Renoir, Jean. "My Memories of Renoir." Life (19 May 1952): 92-93.
1953
Fox, Milton S. (text). Renoir. New York, 1953: repro plate 12.
1954
Rouart, Denis. Renoir. Geneva, 1954: 28, repro.
1958
Fox, Milton S. "Renoir in his Diversity." Arts XXXII, no. 7 (April 1958): 30.
1963
Gimpel, René. Journal d'un collectionneur, marchand de tableaux. Paris, 1963: 235.
1963
Neumann, Jaromir. Auguste Renoir. Prague, 1963:32, repro.
1967
Feist, Peter H. Auguste Renoir. Leipzig, 1967: 24, 39, 61, no. 10.
1967
Pool, Phoebe. Impressionism. London, 1967:107, repro.
1967
Walton, P.H. Renoir. New York, 1967: 22, repro. 13
1968
Bodelsen, Merete. "Early Impressionist Sales 1874-94 in the light of some unpublished 'procès-verbaux'." The Burlington Magazine 110 (June 1968): 333, 335.
1969
White, Barbara Ehrlich. "Renoir’s Trip to Italy." The Art Bulletin 51 (December 1969): 334-335.
1970
Renior. Paris, Réalités Hachette, 1970: 104, repro.
1972
Fezzi, Elda. L'opera completa di Renoir nel period impressionista. Milan, 1972: no. 76.
1972
Fox, Milton S. Pierre Auguste Renoir. New York, 1972: 14, repro.
1973
Rewald, John. The History of Impressionism, New York, 1973: 281,354, repro. 280
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 296, repro.
1978
Callen, Anthea. Renoir. London, 1978:47, repro.
1980
Kelder, Diane. The Great Book of French Impressionism. New York, 1980: 130, 438, repro. p. 163.
1980
Monneret, Sophie (intro). Guida alla pittura di Renoir. Milan, 1980:47-48, repro, no. 87.
1980
Thomas, David. Renoir. London, 1980: 7, repro.
1984
A Day in the Country: Impressionism and the French Landscape. Exh. cat. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, 1984:122.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 466, no. 682, color repro.
1984
White, Barbara Ehrlich. Renoir: His Life, Art, and Letters. New York, 1984: 40-44, 54-55, 285, repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 342, repro.
1985
Rouart, Denis. Renoir. Rev. ed., New York, 1985: 24, repro.
1989
Distel, Anne. Les collectionneurs des impressionnistes. Amateurs et marchands. Paris, 1989:175, repro.
1990
Französische Impressionisten und ihre Wegbereiter aus der National Gallery of Art, Washington und dem Cincinnati Art Museum, Exh. cat. Neue Pinakothek, Munich, 1990: no. 47, repro.
1991
Coman, Florence E. Joie de Vivre: French Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1991: no. 20, repro.
1991
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 260, color repro.
1992
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 190, repro.
1995
Boime, Albert. Art and the French Commune. Princeton, 1995: 117-119, 121, repro.
1995
Brettell, Richard R. Impressionist Paintings Drawings and Sculpture from the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection. Dallas, 1995:47, repro.
1995
Distel, Anne. Renoir A Sensuous Vision. New York, 1995:43, repro.
1996
Lurie, Patty. Guide to Impressionist Paris. Manchester, New Hampshire, 1996: 25-26.
1996
Rathbone, Eliza E., et al. Impressionists on the Seine: A Celebration of Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party. Washington, 1996: 24, 54 n. 17, repro. 59.
1996
Sagner-Düchting, Karin. Renoir: Paris and the Belle Epoque. Munich, 1996:repro. 28-29.
1997
Kelder, Diane. The Great Book of French Impressionism, 1997, no. 140, repro.
1999
Wood, Paul (editor). The Challenge of the Avant-Garde. New Haven, 1999: 120-121, repro.
2000
Thomson, Belinda. Impressionism: Origins, Practice, Reception. London, 2000: 28, repro.
2006
Søndergaard, Sidsel Maria. Women in Impressionism: From Mythical Feminine to Modern Woman. Exh. cat. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen. Milan, 2006: 178, 179 fig. 147.
2007
Dauberville, Guy-Patrice, and Michel Dauberville. Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles. 5 vols. Paris, 2007: 1:no. 118.

Technical Summary

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