Renoir’s Portrait of Alphonsine Fournaise

Pierre Auguste Renoir. Portrait of Alphonsine Fournaise. 1879. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. [Source: WebMuseum Paris]

Alphonsine Fournaise was the woman in straw boater standing at the rail in the center of Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. Alphonsine is the subtle heroine in Susan Vreeland’s novel of the same name, where she animates her family’s riverside resort on the Seine as artist’s muse and modern river goddess. La Maison Fournaise, where Renoir painted Boating Party as well as this portrait, is now the Musée Fournaise in the city of Chatou near Paris.

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