Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919): Young People in the Street
Pastel on paper | 63.5 x 49 cm | C. 1877
In this pastel Renoir has ‘zoomed’ straight in on some figures passing by on the street on their way out of a Parisian establishment. We do not know the story, but we come very close to the figures and sense a possible story unfolding in the crowd.
The impression is of urbanity, with the women’s elegant clothes and the men’s top hats. The potential for brushing against one another and flirting amidst the throng is there, and there is a focus on the many gazes and gestures that might lead to a romance, and which at all events reflect an energy in the passing crowd.
Renoir is one of the principal figures of Impressionism. He is best known for his atmospheric paintings of the attractions of the dancing establishment Moulin de la Galette in Paris, and his monumental pictures of ample nude women in natural surroundings. The expression of the sensual is quite central to his work.
Motifs: Portraits, pictures of “modern life” in and outside Paris, landscapes and bathing women.
Read more about Renoir at the Musée d’Orsay’s website.