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Dance at the Moulin de la Galette

Musée d’Orsay, Paris


American art critic Henry Morrison agreed with the assessment of French art critic Camille Mauclair regarding Renoir’s Moulin de la Galette :

“’Renoir’s realism,’ continues Mauclair in exposition of the artist’s qualities, ‘bears in spite of all, the imprint of the lyric spirit and of sweetness. It has neither the nervous veracity of Manet, nor the bitterness of Degas, who both love their epoch and find it interesting without idealizing it, and who have the vision of psychological novelists. Before everything else he is a painter, what he sees in the Bal au Moulin de la Galette are not the stigmata of vice and impudence, the ridiculous and sad sides of the doubtful types of this low resort. He sees the gaiety of Sundays, the flashes of the sun, the [oddity] of a crows carried away by the rhythm of the [waltzes], the laughter, the clicking of glasses, the vibrating and hot atmosphere; and he applies to this spectacle of voyous vulgarity his figts as a sumptuous colorist, the arabesque of lines, the gracefulness of his bathers, and the happy eurythmy of his soul. The straw hats are changed into gold, the blue jackets are sapphires, and out of a still exact realism is born a poem of light – the product of his poetic vision and treatment.”

Henry Morrison, “Auguste Renoir, Impressionist,” Brush and Pencil, vol. 17, no. 5 (May 1906): 202-3.

Similar Subjects by Other Artists:

Roger Jourdain, Sunday, 1878 Salon (untraced. Illustrated in L’Illustration, 15 June 1878)

Georges Seurat, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, 1884

Vincent van Gogh, Moulin de la Galette, 1886 (Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh)

Web Resources:

smarthistory: Renoir, Moulin de la Galette

About the Artist

Born: Limoges, 25 February 1841
Died: Cagnes-sur-Mer, 3 December 1919
Nationality: French