Figures on the Beach, 1890. Auguste Renoir. Oil on canvas. Robert Lehman Collection, 1975.
Probably painted in 1890 on the Côte d'Azur in southern France, this sun-filled painting shows two female figures at the beach. The seated figure is shown in profile, her right hand holding a parasol on the sand. She exchanges a look with the standing figure to her right who holds a basket at her side. The women are joined by a small white dog, and before the water stands a young boy dressed in blue, seemingly throwing an object into the ocean. The standing figure serves as a vertical force which connects the horizontally banded foreground, water, and sky.
The women appear carefree and neither at work nor in the presence of men. Painted later in Renoir’s career, a period at which point the artist expressed skepticism of industrialism and machines, this quiet seascape pays homage to the resplendent beauty of what is ordinary and simple.