Renoir was mainly a figure painter, with a preference to the female form. In this painting he uses vibrant colours and lavish brushstrokes to draw the eye to the joy of the two people on the foreground, but even more so to the woman, making her the main focus. Everything else in this picture falls to the background as you instantly look at the twirling couple.
While there is a lot more going on in this artwork, the surroundings almost seem to fade into the background as the attention is immediately drawn to the woman in the pink dress and red bonnet.
He was once quoted as saying: “I want my red to sing out like a bell. If it doesn't, I add reds and other colours until I get there.”
It is pretty clear that in this painting, his reds do sing out.
Bougival, where this painting is set, is one of the suburbs of Western Paris. This was a popular place for Impressionists painters and here, around many of the open-air cafés along the Seine, these artists would often be found.
Dance at Bougival is currently being displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, United States of America. They have described it as “one of their most beloved works.”
This work of art was painted in oil paint, and is signed in the lower right corner with the inscription Renoir. 83.
Dance at Bougival is similar to two of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s other works, both in style and composition. Dance in the Country (Danse à la Campagne in French) and Dance in the City (Danse à la Ville in French), each painted in the same year, 1883.
The same models were used for all three paintings, apart from Suzanne Valadon in Dance in the Country who was replaced by Aline Charigot.
Dance at Bougival was one of the paintings featured in the ‘The Festival of Living Art’ episode of Gilmore Girls.