Chronology of Events

Related to Luncheon of the Boating Party, the Novel

For your enjoyment, it is recommended that you read this chronology after you read the novel.


Pierre-Auguste Renoir born, Feb. 25, Limoges, the sixth of seven children, to Léonard Renoir, a tailor, and Merguerite Merlet, a dressmaker.


Renoir's family moves to Paris, 16 rue de la Bibliothèque on the Right Bank.


Alphonsine Fournaise born.


Louis Napoléon Bonaparte elected president of the Republic; Renoir enters Les Frères des Écoles Chrétiennes, a school close to the Louvre. The family's house is condemned and they move to 23 rue d'Argenteuil, near place du Carrousel, within the courtyard of the Louvre.

Gustave Caillebotte born.


The choir director of Renoir's school, the composer Charles Gounod, recognizes Renoir's musical talent, gives him free lessons, and enters him in the choir of l'église St.-Eustache, with the hope that Renoir would become an opera singer.


New constitution changes the Republic to the Second Empire under Napoléon III.


Baron Georges Haussmann, prefect of the Seine, begins the redesign of Paris, and razes the houses in the courtyard of the Louvre. The Renoirs move to lodgings on rue de Rivoli, nearby. Auguste's parents pull him out of school and consign him as apprentice to the Lévy brothers' porcelain workshop.


Renoir becomes a full-fledged porcelain painter by age 15.


Machines replace artisans in painting porcelain. Lévy's workshop closes. Renoir works painting fans, shades, and interior walls of cafés.


Aline Charigot born.


Poet Jules Laforgue born.


Renoir has yearly passes to copy paintings in the Louvre.


Renoir enters studio of Charles Gleyre at École des Beaux-Arts. Renoir meets Monet, Sisley, Bazille, Pissarro, and Cézanne at Gleyre's studio.


Renoir and others leave studio of Charles Gleyre to paint en plein air in the Forest of Fontainebleu. Meets Gustave Courbet, Camille Corot, Charles Daubigny.


Alphonsine Fournaise marries Joseph (Louis) Papillon.


First painting by Renoir accepted by Salon.

Renoir shares the studio of Frédéric Bazille for most of the next four years.

Renoir paints The Inn of Mother Anthony, Marlotte.


Renoir's painting, Lise, is in the Spring Salon.


Renoir frequents Café Guerbois, where he meets Manet, Degas, Zola. Renoir paints with Monet at La Grenouillère, the first Impressionist landscapes.

Renoir moves to his parents' home in Ville d'Avray near Versailles, with Lise. Travels almost daily to Monet's house near Bougival.


Renoir paints Lise in boats and on the riverbank at Chatou.

July 19, Napoléon declares war on Prussia.

September 1. Napoléon's forces are defeated at Sedan; Napoleon surrenders.

September 4, France assumes a new government, the Third Republic. The Siege of Paris by Prussian forces begins.

October 28, Renoir is drafted and is sent to Libourne and Bordeaux in the South.

November 28, Frédéric Bazille is killed in action.


January 28, France surrenders. 300,000 dead and wounded; 700,000 prisoners.

Joseph(Louis) Papillon, Alphonsine's husband, dies of disease, having been taken prisoner.

March, Paris Commune revolts against Versaillais government. 20,000 die in suppression of the revolt.


Lise marries and ceases to model for Renoir.

Durand-Ruel buys his first painting from Renoir, Pont des Arts, for 200 francs.


Café de la Nouvelle-Athènes replaces Café Guerbois as the meeting place of artists.

Renoir meets Gustave Caillebotte.

Renoir moves his studio to 35, rue St.-Georges.


First Impressionist exhibition; Renoir shows seven works.

Henriette Henriot and Nini Lopez become his frequent models.

Worldwide economic crash and depression; Renoir and Monet are in dire financial straits.

December 22, Renoir's father dies.


Renoir meets Georges and Marguerite Charpentier.

Margot Legrand becomes Renoir's model and lover.

Caillebotte paints The Floor Scrapers.

First Impressionist auction; highest price for a Renoir is 300 francs for Le Pont Neuf, Paris. Average price, 112 francs. Total sales, 2,251 francs for twenty paintings.

Georges Bizet composes Carmen at Bougival, dies before completion.


Renoir paints wall decoration for Charpentier's stairwell.

Second Impressionist Exhibition; Renoir shows sixteen works.

Caillebotte's will names Renoir as executor.

Caillebotte paints Pont de L'Europe.

Renoir rents studio on rue Cortot, Montmartre, and paints Bal au Moulin de la Galette.


Third Impressionist Exhibition. Renoir shows twenty-one works, including Moulin de la Galette, and La Balançoire. Meets Jeanne Samary at Madame Charpentier's salon.

Degas paints Women on the Terrace of a Café, Evening. Caillebotte buys it.

Fournaise expands the restaurant and has the terrace enlarged.

Caillebotte buys Louveciennes from Pissarro; advances 880 francs to Monet, begins a first-rate stamp collection with his brother, takes up sailing, and paints Paris Street: Rainy Day.


Renoir paints The Actress Jeanne Samary; and Mme. Charpentier and Her Children.

No Impressionist exhibition this year.

Caillebotte sends 750 francs to Pissarro with apologies for not being able to supply him with a monthly stipend, and buys Gare St.-Lazare from Monet.


February 25, Margot Legrand dies of smallpox.

Renoir does not exhibit at Fourth Impressionist show.

Renoir meets Aline Charigot at Camille's Crémerie.

Caillebotte registers his first sailboat, the Iris, with Cercle de la Voile de Paris, and wins two first and two second prizes with it. He sends 1000 francs to Pissarro, 1000 to Monet, and underwrites the first issue of Degas' publication, Le Jour et la Nuit.


January, Renoir breaks his right arm in a fall from a cycle.

February, Caillebotte launches the Condor.

Renoir does not exhibit in Fifth Impressionist show, but exhibits in the Salon.

In late summer, Renoir begins Luncheon of the Boating Party.

Caillebotte's Inès is ranked first among the best Parisian vessels according to Le Yacht.

The Condor wins first place in the Grand International Regatta of the Cercle de la Voile de Paris, and the Inès wins first place in the Le Havre regattas.

The Inès is entered in its first fall regatta at Argenteuil and wins first place. During this year's racing season, the Inès won ten first prizes, one second prize, 1,650 francs, a gold medal, six silver medals, and an "objet d'art."


February, Durand-Ruel buys Luncheon of the Boating Party for 15,000 francs, a high price, along with other paintings.

March-April, with Lestringuez and Lhôte, Renoir travels and paints in Algeria, following Delacroix's footsteps.

Renoir does not exhibit in Sixth Impressionist show.

Late October-January, Renoir goes to Italy.

Guy de Maupassant publishes "La Femme de Paul" with scenes taking place at Maison Fournaise.


Caillebotte continues to stagger the racing world winning races from Argenteuil to Le Havre in ten new sailboats.


Renoir returns to France, paints with Cézanne in Provence.

Dealer Paul Durand-Ruel exhibits 25 of Renoir's paintings which he now owns, at Seventh Impressionist show, including Luncheon of the Boating Party.

Renoir exhibits one work at the Salon.


Renoir paints Dance in the Country of Aline dancing with Paul Lhôte.


Suzanne Valadon models for Renoir.

Renoir spends July in Argenteuil and Petit Genneviers with Caillebotte.

Renoir exhibits one work in the Salon, and 70 works in the Durand-Ruel Galleries, some of which were lent by Caillebotte for this retrospective.


Renoir does not exhibit at Salons 1884-89.


March 23, Aline gives birth to Renoir's son, Pierre.

Renoir keeps the liaison with Aline a secret from his wealthy patrons.

September-October spent in Essoyes, Aline's native village, with Aline and Pierre.


French Impressionist show, New York, exhibits thirty-eight works by Renoir.

Renoir does not exhibit at Eighth (last) Impressionist show.

Renoir paints Aline Charigot nursing and calls it Maternity.


Jules Laforgue, newly married, becomes ill, is supported during illness by Charles Ephrussi, dies at 27 years, his work having influenced W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, and T.S. Eliot.


Renoir has first diagnosed attack of rheumatoid-arthritis.


April 14, Renoir marries Aline Charigot in Paris.

Jeanne Samary dies.


First French government purchase of a Renoir painting, Girls at the Piano.


Gustave Caillebotte dies at Petit Gennevilliers at 45 years, bequeathing his collection to the Musées Nationaux.

September 15, Aline gives birth to a second son, Jean.

Gabrielle Renard, Aline's 15 year old niece, comes to be nursemaid; stays with family for nineteen years.


After much effort on Renoir's part, 38 paintings of Caillebotte's bequest of 70 paintings were accepted by French government; it included six by Renoir, including one of Alphonsine. Eventually the Caillebotte bequest formed the basis of what is now the Musée d'Orsay.


Renoir's mother dies at 89. Louise Fournaise, Alphonsine's mother, dies at 73.


Renoir falls off a bicycle in Essoyes and breaks his right arm again.

Public opening of the Caillebotte room in Musée du Luxembourg with his collection plus Manet's Olympia, Renoir's Young Women at the Piano, and Morisot's Young Woman in a Ball Dress which the State had previously acquired. This is the first group of Impressionist paintings shown in a French museum.


Renoir buys a house in Essoyes, where he spends part of every year henceforth.


Renoir lives in Cagnes-sur-Mer between Nice and Antibes part of every year.


Renoir accepts appointment as Chevalier of Legion of Honor.


Aline gives birth to a third son, Claude (Coco).


Durand-Ruel shows fifty-nine works of Renoir in London.

Père Fournaise dies. Alphonsine closes Maison Fournaise.


Renoir purchases a villa, Les Collettes, in Cagnes-sur-Mer, which he expands and builds a glass-walled studio on the premises.


Alphonse Fournaise, Alphonsine's brother who is married with three children, drowns in a flood.


New York Armory show has five works by Renoir.


Pierre and Jean wounded in action.


April, Jean seriously wounded again after returning to combat.

May, Aline travels to Paris, convinces doctor not to amputate Jean's leg.

June, 27, after frantic travel between hospitals of sons, Aline dies, is buried in Essoyes.


Renoir exhibition at Durand-Ruel Gallery, New York, eighteen works.


Renoir exhibition at Durand-Ruel Gallery, New York, twenty-eight works.


Renoir exhibition at Durand-Ruel Gallery, New York, thirty-five works.

December 3, Renoir dies at Cagnes-sur-Mer, aged 78, leaving three sons and 720 paintings,


Durand-Ruel exhibits 63 of his paintings.


Renoir's paintings are exhibited in 57 shows, twelve of which are one-man shows.


Luncheon of the Boating Party had been part of Paul Durand-Ruel's personal collection until 1923. After his death, his sons sell it to American collector Duncan Phillips for $125,000 plus interest in order to finance new premises for the Durand-Ruel Gallery. The next day, in a letter to the museum's treasurer, Duncan Phillips writes: "The Phillips Memorial Gallery is to be the possessor of one of the greatest paintings in the world. The Déjeuner des Canotiers is the masterpiece by Renoir and finer than any Rubens--as fine as any Titian or Giorgione. Its fame is tremendous and people will travel thousands of miles to our house to see it...Such a picture creates a sensation wherever it goes." It has been the showpiece of the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. ever since.


Alphonsine Fournaise dies at 93.

Each son grew up to be successful in his own field: Pierre was a highly regarded actor; Jean, a world-famous film-maker and writer; Claude (Coco) a skillful ceramist.


Selected Sources:

Galloyer, Anne. La Maison Fournaise: Table des Canotiers.

House, John. Renoir.

Kern, Steven, et al. A Passion for Renoir: Sterling and Francine Clark Collect 1916-1957.

Varnedoe, Kirk. Gustave Caillebotte.