As with many of the originals I copy at The National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington, D.C., some of the masterworks at first appear to be very easy to copy while some are deemed challenging from the onset. Often the ones that look easy turn out to be quite difficult, and the apparent difficult ones turn out to be less challenging. Oarsmen at Chatau by Auguste Renoir was completed in 1879. Copying this masterwork is more difficult than it seemed when first studied. The brush strokes are very loose and difficult to follow causing me to now estimate it will take much longer to complete than originally thought. I was attracted to this painting because it reminds me of Renoir’s Luncheon of The Boating Party (1881) which is the best known and most popular work of art at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. The use of color and style are very similar. During this period of Renoir’s life, rowing was a very popular activity. Young folks would spend Sunday afternoons on the river boating, relaxing, and enjoying each other’s company. Renoir used some of the same models for both paintings including friends, fellow artists, and, it is believed, Aline Charigot who appears in many of his paintings and later became his wife. She was one of Renoir’s favorite models.
The Copyist Program is in recess for the week of December 25 through January 1. Therefore, I will not be at the NGA on Tuesday, December 30. However, on Tuesday, January 6, look for me in the Impressionist Gallery number 85 as we begin the exciting 2015 version of “your copyist at work.” Happy New Year to all!