RENOIR, Pierre-Auguste
(b, 1841, Limoges, d. 1919, Cagnes-sur-Mer)

Dance in the Country

Oil on canvas, 180 x 90 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

In 1883, Renoir painted two large dance scenes, Dance in the City, and Dance in the Country, conceived as pendants. Paul Lhote, a friend of the artist, served as the model for the male dancer in both pictures; the figures of the women and the treatment of the background are different.

The elegant young woman in Dance in the City is pictured with her partner in a room in which the chic decor is emphasized by the pillar and the large potted plants. The dancer is the 17-year-old Suzanne Valadon, who later became a painter herself. The model posing for Dance in the Country, who gazes smilingly out at the onlooker, is Aline Charigot, who was 18 years Renoir's junior and whom he was to marry in 1890.

These two paintings were created during a period in which Renoir started to distance himself from impressionistic paintings in the search for new stylistic media and subject matter. They mark the transition to the painter's final great period of creativity.

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