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The Pont des Arts, Paris, 1867-1868

Pierre-Auguste Renoir
French, 1841-1919
Oil on canvas
24 x 39-1/2 in. (60.9 x 100.3 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Planted in the heart of Paris, we stand on the Left Bank of the Seine, looking upstream toward the wrought-iron Pont des Arts. A ferry pulls up to the quayside, crowded with commuters and idlers from all walks of life: leisured ladies in bright crinolines and smartly turned-out dandies, scrappy street urchins and soldiers in crimson trousers, romping dogs and a blue-smocked working man, seated on the riverbank. Up the ramp at right, secondhand booksellers trade in the shadow of the domed Institut de France, while on the horizon at left appear the brand-new theaters of the Place du Châtelet. The crisp shadows and liberally applied black are typical of Renoir’s early career, when the artist and his friend Monet set out to document their changing city in a celebrated series of views to which this one belongs.

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