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Luncheon of the Boating Party Paperback – February 26, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
One of those rebellious artists is the protagonist of this novel, Auguste Renoir. He's struggling to make ends meet, always in debt it seems, to the supplier of his canvas and paints, to Camille who runs the eatery where he takes many of his meals, to his friends. Obligations are all around him, and he fights to keep himself going, always looking for inspiration. He is part of the artistic revolution known as the Impressionists, that broke away from the rigid Academic style and the critics of the Salon and took the heretical notion that art could be of the instant and didn't need to be executed in a staged, realistic fashion.
Now it looks as though the Impressionist movement is starting to break up -- two major factions have formed, with Edgar Degas and his followers saying that art needs to show the seedier side of reality, and others trying to stay with the original ideas. Some have died in the terrible days of the Franco-Prussian War and the Communard that followed afterwards, and even after a decade, the scars are still there in a slowly recovering Paris.
A popular way of escaping is to go out to one of the suburbs on the Seine, and go boating.Read more ›
At the novel's opening, Renoir is frustrated; the Impressionist group seems to be dividing against itself, conflicted over the question of whether to exhibit paintings in the more establishment-sanctioned Salon. What's more, Renoir is outraged by an essay written by critic Emile Zola, who writes, "Despite their [the Impressionists'] struggle, they have not reached their goal; they remain inferior to what they undertake; they stammer without being able to find words."
Renoir, convinced that he is the one to prove Zola wrong and finally get a major Impressionist work shown at the Salon, sets about to paint a picture that will define la vie moderne (modern life): young people, enjoying leisure time at a riverside cafe. He envisions a monumental painting that will combine portraiture, group dynamics and still life in a composition that is both an homage to classical masters and a vision for the future of painting.
But for Renoir, realizing his vision will hardly be simple. There's the matter of assembling an appropriate group of models, which include country folk, fellow artists, writers and a former mistress or two. There's the fact that Renoir's right arm is in a cast following a bicycling accident.Read more ›
There is something compelling about an author bringing to life the story of a work of art. The characters become familiar and spark curiosity about who they were, the location becomes a real place one could visit, and the art itself becomes an intimate friend. Susan Vreeland first piqued my interest with her biographical historical fiction, 'The Passion of Artemisia.' Her background in and her passion for fine art is clearly a prerequisite in producing a story like this. The descriptions of the colors, clothing and food I can only describe as "delicious" and nearly caused me to feel that I was actually there among them.
One suggestion: Print a color copy of the painting to reference as you read. Otherwise you'll be flipping to look at the cover approximately 3,496 times.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this book... As an artist it was very insightful & interesting to learn about Paris in the age of the impressionist artists... Renoir, Degas, etc... Read morePublished 22 hours ago by Glenda Purdie
A great painting with people who look like they could be interesting. The answer is some.
The best part of the book is getting inside Renoir himself as he painted this... Read more
It is atmospheric. I feel peaceful - like going to an art exhibit. I want to paint.Published 1 month ago by Over Sixty
Give it 3.5. Here's an email I wrote a friend comparing this book to I ALWAYS LOVED YOU. I have a review of the latter on Amazon too. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Robert Slocum
This book is beautiful. An acquaintance recommended this book. She said she read it 3 times. So I knew I had to read it too. It was not an easy quick read. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Carrie
I simply cannot understand why some have given this book low ratings, It is an incite full look into the mind of a truly brilliant painter and his friends. Read morePublished 2 months ago by pigamoore