Museums and Art

Portrait of Madame Charpentier with her children, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1878

Portrait of Madame Charpentier with her children, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1878

Portrait of Madame Charpentier with her children - Pierre-Auguste Renoir. 153.7x190.2

Probably the most sunny and cheerful of all the Impressionists, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) painted this picture at the request of Madame Charpentier, the wife of a major publisher of French literature and one of the first collectors of impressionist paintings. Renoir was entering her salon, where famous writers, artists, and musicians gathered.

Madame Charpentier depicted sitting in the living room of her house with her children - daughter Georgette and son Paul - and a large dog. The canvas carries a certain imprint of salon painting, and the woman’s pose is somewhat deliberate and ceremonial, but Renoir’s pictorial style overshadows this artificial pose. Not only the blue, white and golden yellow colors are filled with air by the artist, but also his beloved “black”, or rather, Berlin blue, which is written by Madame Charpentier’s dress, full of reflexes and shades. The liveliness and spontaneity with which children's images are noted here bring the mood of playing fun into the atmosphere of the picture.

The portrait was so favorably received by the public that orders fell on Renoir and he turned out to be one of the most popular portrait painters.


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