Personnes sur la plage (1890)

Renoir, Pierre-Auguste (1841-1919)

Personnes sur la plage (Figures on the Beach)
Oil on canvas, 52.7 x 64.1 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Probably painted in 1890 on the Cote d’Azur in southern France, this sun-filled painting shows two female figures at the beach. The seated figure is shown in profile, her right hand holding a parasol on the sand. She exchanges a look with the standing figure to her right who holds a basket at her side. The women are joined by a small white dog, and before the water stands a young boy dressed in blue, seemingly throwing an object into the ocean. The standing figure serves as a vertical force which connects the horizontally banded foreground, water, and sky. The women appear carefree and neither at work nor in the presence of men. Painted later in Renoir’s career, a period at which point the artist expressed skepticism of industrialism and machines, this quiet seascape pays homage to the resplendent beauty of what is ordinary and simple. (MET)