Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Children's Afternoon at Wargemont by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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Rolled Canvas
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In 1879 Renoir became a friend of the banker and diplomat Paul Bérard and his wife Marguerite. He painted portraits, still lifes and landscapes for them, and visited them both in Paris and in their chateau in Wargemont, where he painted the large picture of their daughters Marguerite, Lucie, and Marthe. Over a period of years he also painted them individually; but here the subjects are distanced from the viewer by being “arranged” as a genre piece — in the spirit of a convention going back over the centuries. The girls’ faces are consciously juxtaposed as profile, three-quarter view, and front view. The work’s precise linearity perfectly reflects the artist’s “classicizing” phase, as does the shadowless intermingling of transparent tones, cool on the left and colorful on the right. The many different patterns, as on a Japanese woodcut, underline the unity of the picture surface.