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Madame Robert de Bonnieres, 1889

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Artist Renoir, Pierre-Auguste Durand Ruel had never approved of Renoir’s ‘hard’ style, and when the dealer commissioned Teodor se Wyzewa – a young Polish -born critic who has been a friend of Renoir’s since 1886 – to write an article about the artist (published in L’Art dans les deux mondes on December6th, 1890) it was clearly with the intention of explaining to prospective byers the artist’s various changes of style. Teodor wrote: “M. Renoir had become famous; of all the Impressionists he was the most delicate, the most feminine, the one in whom we recognised the less praise-worthy of our sensual feelings. And at this point in his career he started ot react against this weaker, feminine characteristic of his work. For several years he felt disquiet and sometimes despair, as he looked at the Old Masters whose dedicated and respectful admirer he had always been. He was searching for a more solid , a more classical way of painting, one which was sufficient unto itself , independently of the sensual charm he was able to add to it”.
Not content with writing articles in praise of Renoir’s work, Teodor de Wyzewa persuaded Robert de Bonnieres, a writer for Le Figaro, to commission Renoir to paint this portrait of his wife. At the time it was fashionable for women to be pale. And the canvas does give the impression of a woman wearing heavy make-up. Renoir was frustrated by this and later confided in Vollard: “Just imagine – I come across one of the most charming women it is possible to meet , and she doesn’t want to have any colour in her cheeks!”




Institution Private collection
Medium Oil on canvas













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