Appreciate, admire, regard…all that good stuff, but I just don’t like Pierre-August Renoir’s paintings and you can’t make me.
It’s like Jane Austen. I’m not saying they weren’t highly talented individuals very important to the this and that, it’s just that I’d rather go out to an antique store, find a telephone that actually has a cord and then hang myself with it rather than spend an hour subjected to their individual, or indeed collected, works.
BUT, I know how many of you gals liked the big girls in art feature and I’m always glad when I see plus size women painted beautifully in any style so I thought I’d offer you a handful of Renoir’s portraits, mostly from his later years 1914 and on, featuring some of his larger models.
The first portrait is of Austrian actress Tilla Durieux who at the time was married to a prominent art dealer in Paris.
Nice job if you can get it.
The second –and perhaps my favorite– is of his longtime muse Gabrielle Renard, who just so happened to be his childrens’ nanny and his wife Aline’s cousin.
I don’t know whether he had an affair with her, but can you IMAGINE the fights?
“Pierre, WHY is the nanny naked in the studio again? I thought you were doing landscapes this week!”
It seems a good guess as Renoir definitely painted her often in their younger days, these portraits all show a voluptuous woman with a full, almost carnal, mouth. Other paintings and photographs of the actress show her to have very thin, tight lips.
Ellen Andrée would have been in her 60’s by the time these portraits were painted, not that any portraitist has ever shied away from shaving off a few years –or decades– from his subject.
You can actually blame the Hot Latin Boy for this post because it started with this painting.
Back story? Why sure.
The fella and I hadn’t seen each other in donkey’s ears and because your pal Plummy does like to make her entrances –I’m glad you all were sitting down for that shock– when I first appeared to him at Villa Plumcake it was at dusk, wending my way in white dress and gossamer thin shawl through a lovely shadowed garden.
I hadn’t seen him in months and I sure as heck wasn’t going to be stared at in the merciless glare of some fluorescent lights or, you know, the sun.
I plucked a single blossom of night blooming jasmine and stuck it behind my ear as the Pacific swallowed the last breaths of light.
He came up, put my hand on his heart so I could feel it beating (apparently that’s A Thing) and said:
“You look like a sílfide”
For any of you people who are, you know, normal, you would understand immediately that sílfide is a Spanish cognate for sylph.
I didn’t quite understand, so he tried to explain what he meant and somehow I got it into my head that he meant I looked like a selkie.
No, it didn’t occur to me that perhaps a not-widely-traveled Latin boy’s frame of mythological reference might not include little-known Scottish shape-shifting seal maidens, but it honestly seemed more likely than being called a sylph.
Still does. I’d make a damn fine selkie. Plus I could have a seal fur coat without feeling guilty about it and that would be swell because even Cruella DePlumcake can’t swing that coat.
Anyway, sylphs are to my mind quite thin and willowy as are nymphs so I was pleased to see Renoir’s 1919 work The Nymphs (also called The Great Bathers) featuring women who don’t fit the slender sylph model either.