Jeune femme en blanc lisant (1873)

Renoir, Pierre-Auguste (1841-1919)

Jeune femme en blanc lisant (Young Woman in White Reading)
Oil on canvas, 35 x 27 cm
National Gallery of IrelandDublin

Renoir began his career as a decorative artist, painting designs on porcelain and fabric. He proceeded to train at the École des Beaux-Arts and then at the studio of Charles Gleyre, where he became friends with Frédéric Bazille, Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley. Following the rejection of several of his works by the Salon, Renoir joined Monet and Sisley in exhibiting at the Impressionist exhibitions.

In the summer of 1873 Renoir visited Monet at Argenteuil where he painted the artist and his family. The figure in this informal domestic scene may have been modelled upon Monet’s wife, Camille, whom Renoir painted as she read on several occasions. Executed at a turning point in his career, this small modern-life study blurs the boundaries between portraiture and genre painting. It draws upon a number of important artistic influences. The brushwork and thinly applied paint give the picture a sketchy appearance, reflecting Renoir’s close association with Monet at this time. The monochrome tones may relate to his interest in the work of Edouard Manet and artists of the Spanish Golden Age. The flattening of space and incorporation of chequered patterning demonstrate his interest in Ukiyo-e prints by Japanese artists such as Utamaro Kitagawa. (NGI)

See also:

• Argenteuil (France) | Doncieux, Camille (1847-1879)