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Claude and RenéeEnlarge image

Claude and Renée, c. 1902-1903

Auguste Renoir
French, 1841 - 1919
oil on canvas
78.7 x 63.5 cm
Purchased 1949
National Gallery of Canada (no. 4989)

With its soft golden tones, pastel-like texture, and sculptural form, this double portrait is a fine example of Renoir's late style. Dressed in a white bonnet, Claude Renoir, known as Clo-Clo by his parents, is held by his nurse Renée Jolivet, the seventeen-year old daughter of a day labourer from Essoyes whose wife likely delivered Claude in 1901. While it represents an intimate moment of domesticity in Renoir's household, the pose nonetheless recalls the traditional Christian theme of the Madonna and Child.

Provenance 

– 1938
Jean Renoir (1894–1979), Marlotte, France [1]

1949
“Candia Comp.” [2]

– 1949/03/17
E.J. Van Wisselingh & Co, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, purchased from “Candia Comp.” [3]

1949/03/17 –
National Gallery of Canada, purchased from E. J. Van Wisselingh & Co [4]

Notes 

[1] Pieter Eilers of E.J. Van Wisselingh & Co., Amsterdam, states that Jean Renoir was owner of the work until 1938 [cable to H.O. McCurry, former Director of the National Gallery of Canada, dated April 27, 1949, Accession records, NGC curatorial file]. In 1938, the painting was included in an exhibition at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris. A photograph of this exhibition shows the painting on display [Dauberville, Guy-Patrice and Michel, “Renoir. 1858-1881. Catalogue Raisonné des Tableaux, Pastels, Dessins et Aquarelles.” Paris: Éditions Bernhein-Jeune 2007, p. 103, bottom picture]. The work is not included in the exhibition catalogue, because it was provided to Bernheim-Jeune after the catalogue had already gone into print ["Renoir portraitiste.” Galerie Bernheim- Jeune, Paris, June 10 to end of July, 1938, hors cat.].

[2] The Van Wisselingh stock books list the “Candia Comp.” as owner of the work until 1950. The painting, however, was already purchased by the NGC in March 1949 [Van Wisselingh archive, stock number S 7119, RKD, The Hague, The Netherlands].

[3] It is not clear if Van Wisselingh ever actually owned the painting or simply acted as an agent. The Van Wisselingh stock records list Candia Comp. as owner until 1950 [see note 2]. In 1948 and 1949, however, Claude et Renée was already included exhibitions held by Van Wisselingh in Montreal and Toronto ["French Paintings of the XIXth and XXth Centuries. Collection of Mr. P. Eilers of E.J. Van Wisselingh & Co., Amsterdam, Holland”, Montreal, Watson Galleries, until December 25,1948; cat. no. 25; "French Paintings of the XIXth and XXth Centuries. Collection of Mr. P. Eilers of E.J. Van Wisselingh & Co., Amsterdam, Holland”, Laing Galleries, Toronto, until December 25, 1949; cat. no. 25].

[4] See note [2]. Accession Log [NGC curatorial file].

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