La Loge by Pierre Auguste Renoir



Title

La Loge

Artist

Pierre Auguste Renoir

Ref GM3119
Type Fine Art Print
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Description  
Renoir’s La Loge (The Theatre Box), 1874, is one of the masterpieces of Impressionism. Its depiction of an elegant couple on display in a box at the theatre epitomises the Impressionists’ interest in the spectacle of modern life. La Loge was Renoir’s principal exhibit in the first Impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1874. The complexity of its subject matter and its virtuoso technique helped to establish the artist’s reputation as one of the leaders of this radical new movement in French art. Renoir’s brother, Edmond, and Nini Lopez, a model from Montmartre known as ‘Fish-face’, posed for this ambitious composition. At the heart of the painting is the complex play of gazes enacted by these two figures seated in a theatre box. The elegantly dressed woman lowers her opera glasses, revealing herself to admirers in the theatre, whilst her male companion trains his gaze elsewhere in the audience. In turning away from the performance, Renoir focused instead upon the theatre as a social stage where status and relationships were on public display. Theatre in Paris was a rapidly expanding industry during the 19th century, dominating the cultural life of the city. The theatre was an important place to see and to be seen. Wealth was flaunted; fashions paraded; allegiances made; and engagements announced. The burgeoning wealth of the middle classes meant that the loges of the premier theatres were no longer the preserve of the high society. Renoir used the loge to capture the excitement and changing nature of fashionable Parisian society.