The Railway Bridge at Chatou or The Pink Chestnut Trees
(1841 - 1919)
Oil on canvas
In the spring of 1881, Renoir worked in Chatou, not far from Paris. He was particularly productive in those months. He began taking note of industrial elements, especially trains and metal bridges, which had transformed the French countryside from the mid-19th century. These industrial elements were typically absent from traditional landscapes, which were idealised re-imaginings of landscapes made in art studios. In this painting, while the bridge with the railway line is depicted in some detail, it blends in with the surrounding landscape. Its arches echo the curves formed by the garden fence and the shadow of the lawn, adding to the painting's overall harmony. Sunshine. light and colour pervade the outdoor scene, which is captured with quick, fluid brushstrokes.