Romaine Lacaux, 1864
|Artist||Renoir, Pierre-Auguste||Romaine Lacaux was born in Paris in May 1855; her father was a manufacturer of terracotta goods with premises at 27 rue de la Roquette; it was perhaps through the contact he made as a porcelain painter that Renoir obtained this commission. Reportedly the portrait was commissioned while Renoir was visiting Barbizon, where the Lacaux family was in vacation.
The painting is a synthesis of varied artistic traditions. The girl’s pose and setting, and her crisply defined form, bear the imprint of the Ingres tradition of formal portraiture but the blonde tonality, dominated by greys with soft accents of blues and reds, reveals Renoir’s allegiance to the light-toned painting widespread in Paris by the 1860s, of which Corot was the most celebrated mentor. The brushwork -soft wet visible, and quite broad in places -suggests that Renoir was also looking at the masters of freely handled oil painting; the example of Velasquez seems particularly relevant here, notably his child portrait, The Infanta Margarita, in the Louvre. Renoir succeeded in fusing these diverse traditions very convincingly; within the conventions of formal portraiture , Romaine Lacaux is viewed with close observation and presented ad an alert vivacious young girl. The painting passed from the family of the sitter into the collection of Edmond Decap, with whose family it remained until after Renoir’s death.
|Institution||The Cleveland Museum of Art|
|Medium||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||106.68 x 89.22cm|