Danse à la ville (1883)

Renoir, Pierre-Auguste (1841-1919)

Danse à la ville (Dance in the city)
Oil on canvas, 179.7 x 89.1 cm
Musée d’OrsayParis

Renoir was fond of dance scenes. These two paintings were designed as pendants: they are of the same format and the figures, practically life-size, represent two different, if not opposite, aspects of dance. The elegant restraint of the urban dancers, the coldness of the living room in which they move, contrasts with the gaiety of open-air country dancing. Didn’t the couple carried along by the music abandon a messy table, disorder accentuated by the hat that had fallen on the ground in the foreground? We could multiply the oppositions between the two panels, even in the colorful range, cold for the dress of Suzanne Valadon, the model Danse à la ville, hot for Aline Charigot, future wife of Renoir who lends her laughing features to the country dancer. But beyond their differences, the two couples seem connected by the same movement, as if each personified a sequence of the same dance. Exhibited at Durand-Ruel’s, to whom they will belong for a long time, these two paintings mark the evolution of the painter in the early 1880s. The drawing becomes more precise and the simplification of the palette contrasts with the vibrant touches of the earlier canvases. Renoir himself admitted that this increased attention to drawing corresponded to a need for renewal after he had been able to admire the works of Raphael in Italy. (Orsay)


Renoir, Auguste (1841-1919)
Danse à la campagne
Musée d’OrsayParis



See also:

Valadon, Suzanne (1865-1938)