Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Mlle Georgette Charpentier

Mlle Georgette Charpentier: Pierre-Auguste Renoir

This 1876 portrait of Mlle Georgette Charpentier by French Impressionist artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir is of the daughter of one of his earliest patrons, Marguerite Charpentier.

As early as 1875, Madame Charpentier bought three works by Renoir and became one of the earliest patrons of Impressionism which at the time was still controversial in the art world.

In this picture, the little girl is seated on a large gold-studded chair in a domestic interior, perhaps a drawing-room. The room is opulently furnished, with a cabinet surmounted by vases and flowers, and a thick patterned carpet. Renoir makes much of the carpet with a stylized play on its reds, darks, and gold.

In addition, Renoir makes a tour de force of the section of the carpet in the shadow of the chair and modulates darks with highlighted gold and green. This is a display of his delight in the mutations of light and shade.

Mlle Charpentier sits on the chair in a contrapposto position: her frame facing out to our right but her head is turned facing out to the left. This signals informality and a certain childish restlessness.

Her expression is cheerfully attentive; perhaps she is listening to the direction of her art-loving mother, as her expression reminds us more of the act of listening than of posing for the artist. Rewnior paints this girl two years later in 1878’s Madame Georges Charpentier and Her Children.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Mlle Georgette Charpentier is in the Bridgestone Museum of Art in Tokyo, Japan

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