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Artist: Pierre-Auguste Renoir
[French painter, 1841-1919]

Title: Portrait of Mademoiselle Legrand

Date: 1875
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions: 32 x 24 inches (81 x 60 cm)
Location: Philadelphia Museum of Art

Image size: 1000 x 1500 pixels, 267 Kbytes
Image source: Artcyclopedia
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Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Portrait of Mademoiselle Legrand

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I was bowled over when I saw this picture. I think it's one of the best art images I have ever seen online. Just look at the detail in the blouse. It was taken by professional photographer Michael Weinberg. He has uploaded several galleries of his fine art photographs to PBase, and by special agreement I will be displaying some of those works here on Artcyclopedia, in an even larger format than is available on PBase.

Renoir was one of the first Impressionists, and adapted this style very successfully to portraiture. He was capable of stunningly observed works of outstanding quality and beauty, such as this one, but (in my opinion) from the earliest days his work was uneven and his gift for observation was sometimes not evident.

That's the paradox of Renoir. Examples of less successful works from this period are Estelle in a Red Hat (1876), Margot Berard (1879) (cute picture but surely her eyes are too large), Young Girl Reading (1886) (the proportions and position of the face and head) and The Little Fishergirl (1879) (can this really be a Renoir?).

Beginning in the 1880s Renoir began to come under the spell of Italian art as epitomised by Raphael, and developed his own "classical" style. His women became even more generic and stylized, such as in Girl with a Basket of Oranges (1889), Girls Putting Flowers in their Hats (1890) and the strangely proportioned study for "The Bathers" (1885) (the final version is much better).

After 1903 Renoir was plagued by rheumatoid arthritis, and at times was forced to work with a paintbrush tied to his hand. However he continued to paint and even sculpt up until the end of his life.
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