In the north of Paris is the Montmartre district, known for its windmill, cabarets and picturesque setting. Montmartre has attracted artists like Renoir, Degas, Monet and van Gogh.
The moulin, or mill, was built in 1622. In the 19th century, the mill owners used the ground flour from the mill to make a brown bread called galette, that gave the mill its name. They also opened a restaurant that served galette and local wine, which became very popular with locals and tourists who visited Montmartre and artists who had studios in the district.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir Au Moulin de la Galette
Some of Renoir’s most beautiful and well-known works were of Paris life at the Moulin da la Galette. His use of color and composition made his Impressionist works a bridge between the Renaissance and Baroque artists who came before him and the modern artists who followed.
Renoir set up a studio near the mill, in an abandoned cottage with a garden, in the Rue Cortot. For the Bal du Moulin de la Galette, Renoir gathered models and friends to pose in the garden. The gardens and buildings have been maintained and preserved as the Musée de Montmartre.
Renoir: Father and Son
Renoir had three sons: Pierre became an actor, Jean a noted filmmaker and Claude, a ceramic artist. The family appeared in many of Renoir’s paintings. The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia is currently holding an exhibit called Renoir: Father and Son that looks at the films of Jean Renoir and the influence that his father had on his work.
Jean Renoir is considered one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, his father one of the greatest painters. In his memoir, Jean wrote, “I have spent my life trying to determine the extent of the influence of my father upon me.”
The influence of father on son can be seen in the father’s painting La Balancoire (The Swing), done in 1876 and his son’s similar scene in his 1946 film, A Day in the Country.
The relationship between father and son was a loving one but, like all relationships, it was complex. In 1920, the year after his father died, Jean married Catherine Hessling, his father’s last model. Hessling starred in many of Jean’s films. The exhibit runs through September 3.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir at Surovek Gallery
Please contact us if you would like more information about Au Moulin de la Galette or any of the other fine work available at Surovek Gallery.