Les Parapluies by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) shows a busy Paris street. The open and half opened umbrellas provide the painting with its title, while the rain, against which they give shelter, provides Renoir with some scope to experiment with the effects of light.
Renoir used a lake / cobalt blue mixture for the blue and purple colours that dominate the painting, although he later completed the work using French ultramarine blue, a synthetic variant of natural ultramarine. The right hand side of the canvas was painted in an Impressionist style with quick feathery brushstrokes, while the smoother and more solid objects on the left hand side where painted with solidly defined outlines.
- Circular hoop
- Octagonal umbrellas
- Rectangular basket
- Diagonal of canvas, starting at bottom right.
- 1869 - Renoir and Claude Monet painted together at La Grenouillère, a bathing spot on the Seine, in 1869. This was a key moment in the development of Impressionism.
- February 1881 - Renoir began to sell his work through the well connected Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922), and was freed from financial problems.
- Late October 1881 to January 1882 - Renoir visited Italy, and as a consequence started to focus more on the outline of figures and drawings. This change in his painting style can be clearly seen in "The Umbrellas". It was worked on by over a number of years and in several stages.
- 1882- Renoir returned to France. Les Parapluies bears the influence of his stay with Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) in L'Estaque, near Marseilles.
- 1892 - Durand-Ruel bought the picture from Renoir in 1892 and sold it to Sir Hugh Lane.
- 1917 - Bequest to the Tate Gallery in London.
- 1935 - Transfer to the National Gallery in London.