The Joy of Museums

Finding Meaning in Art & History

Dance at le Moulin de la Galette

Auguste Renoir - Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette - Musée d'Orsay RF 2739 (derivative work - AutoContrast edit in LCH space)

“Dance at le Moulin de la Galette” is also known as “Bal du Moulin de la Galette” and is one of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s most important works. The Moulin de la Galette was an open-air dancehall and café, frequented by many of Renoir’s friends. Renoir was a regular and he enjoyed the atmosphere. The Moulin de la Galette was one of several windmills located at Montmartre, a district of Paris.

The painting depicts a popular Parisian lifestyle during a typical Sunday afternoon in the late 1870’s, when working class Parisians would dress up and spend time dancing, drinking and eating into the evening. It is one of the most famous Impressionist paintings and a dazzling example of Renoir’s talent for capturing dappled light produced when sunlight is filtered through the leaves of trees. It is a masterpiece demonstrating his innovative style in capturing a large moving crowd with vibrant and brightly coloured brushstrokes.

The poet Stephane Mallarme wrote about this painting as follows:

“The strong daylight is filtered through the greenery, setting the blonde hair and pink cheeks of the girls aglow and making their ribbons sparkle. The joyful light fills every corner of the canvas and even the shadows reflect it. The whole painting shimmers like a rainbow ……. the shreds of yellow, blue and pink drift away in the breeze like so many butterflies.”

Renoir left us a rich legacy of masterpieces. His style change during his long life and a time of significant social change. Renoir’s paintings can be found in Museums across the world and some of his most popular are:

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Essential Facts:

  • Title:                         Dance at Le moulin de la Galette
  • Artist:                       Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • Year:                         1876
  • Style:                        Impressionist
  • Type:                        Oil paint on canvas
  • Dimensions:           131 cm × 175 cm (52 in × 69 in)
  • Museum:                 Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Artist Essential Facts:

 

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“The pain passes, but the beauty remains.” Auguste Renoir

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Photo Credit: Pierre-Auguste Renoir [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons