THE GRENOUILLERE – The birth of Impressionism
The birth of the Impressionism to the Grenouillere in 1869
Banks of the Seine knew an unprecedented development in the second part of the XIXth century. Meeting place of boaters, artists, Paris high liver and Bohemia the peaceful banks of the Seine on the West of Paris became are in hiding of leisure activities and relaxation.
It is in this context of social transformation with this development of the leisure activities that the impressionism was born.
Banks of the Seine, accessible depictions, allowed the young painters of the workshop Gleyre, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Bazille, Pissarro, to satisfy their outdoor thirst and to take to the extreme the lesson of barbizoniens.
The future impressionists were not the first ones to be interested in banks of the Seine, but their revolution came from their technique and subjects what is more they wished to represent: they decided to paint in immediate their rowing contemporaries or having fun in open-air dance halls such as they could observe it to the Grenouillere.
Avoiding Paris, Monet, 29 years and Renoir, 28 years, completely taken the silver plating off, settled down, the first one to Saint Michel, hamlet of Bougival, and the second at his parents in the locality Neighbors to Louveciennes.
Attracted by the reputation of the island of Croissy and the Seine in thousand reflections, both friends meet at the end of the summer, 1869 to paint the Grenouillere where they found an exceptional motive allying a magnificent nature to a colorful and joyful crowd.
Six revolutionary paintings (among whom one regrettably disappeared) arose from this stay and marked the birth of the impressionism, five years before the painting of Monet " Impression rising sun " presented to the first exhibition of the group in 1874.
Wishing to return the changeable variations of the nature, the eye of the painters follows the fast and escaped movements of the light and them transcribed so fast as they occur. The forms free themselves from their outlines, the landscape livens up of colored stroke where we can feel all the vibration of the light, the brilliance of the water and the shiver of the foliages. Inspired by the law of the " simultaneous contrast of colors " of Chevreul, they use pure colors and ally the complementary. Landscapes and figures are involved by a strong stroke uniting the light and the color.
Real stylistic compositions, these works form an exceptional whole where we can observe a quasi-panoramic view of the establishment of the Grenouillere : of the boat-coffee in the famous camembert cheese up to the bank.
Nevertheless, if it is good the same motive as Monet and Renoir represents, this one is printed by the sensibility and the sensations of both artists.
If we compare the painting of Metropolitan of New York of Monet to that of Renoir kept in Stockholm, representing the famous island of the "camembert cheese", we notice that Monet attempts particularly to represent the Seine and its reflections, reducing the characters to simple dark silhouettes, while Renoir, with a much more qualified palette, offers a view moved closer to the island, detailing the crowd of the customers.
This opposition between both friends will still become more marked throughout their career . Monet will be the painter of the water, with his compositions realized to Argenteuil and, later, his series of white water lilies, while Renoir will always remain more attached to the human figure.
Monet - La Grenouillère (1869) - MET New York Renoir - La Grenouillère (1869) - National Museum Stockholm
Monet - Bains à la Grenouillère (1869) - National Gallery Londres Renoir - La Grenouillère (1869) - Coll. Oskar Reinhart Winterthur (Suisse)
All the foundations of the impressionism are gathered in its six paintings : freedom of treatment, clear colors, subjectivity of the landscape, the simultaneity of the sensations, the direct glance on the society. Regrettably, the modernity of its paintings, so much technical point of view as the represented subject, was not accepted in this period. Nevertheless, they were a decisive bend in the art history and fortunately caught the eye of big foreign collectors, what allows us to admire them today " in every corner of the world ".