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“Mother and Children” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - La Promenade - Mother and Children

“Mother and Children” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

“Mother and Children” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir shows a mother who gently guides her two daughters along a circling path in a public park. Together they form a triangular group set apart from the background figures and foliage.

The symmetry in the arrangement of the three blond figures lends a note of elegance. The mother and daughters are turned slightly to the right as they walk along the path.

The young girls are dressed alike and similarly posed. The elder seems more self-confident as she strides forward ahead of her mother, holding her doll in her clasped hands. The mother reassures the younger girl with her hand to her shoulder.

The background figures in the extreme upper right of the scene provide perspective and depth without taking the focus off the central group.

The greens and lavenders of the landscape are echoes of the turquoise and creamy white of the girls’ costumes and the rich blue of their mother’s jacket.

The doll’s frock contrast is a repeat in miniature of the mother dress’s shape and color. 

“Mother and Children” is also known as “La Promenade,” which is the title that Renoir used in 1876.

During this period, Renoir was living and working in Montmartre, Paris, where he worked with many of his fellow painters in depicting the people of Paris and their fashion in the many sights and parks of the city.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, commonly known as Auguste Renoir, was a leading painter in developing the Impressionist style.

Renoir’s paintings are notable for their vibrant light and saturated color, most often focusing on people in intimate and candid compositions.

In characteristic Impressionist style, Renoir suggested a scene’s details through freely brushed touches of color so that his figures softly fuse with their surroundings.

At the age of 51, Renoir developed rheumatoid arthritis, severely limiting his mobility in his last twenty years of his life.

He developed progressive deformities in his hands and ankylosis of his right shoulder, requiring him to change his painting technique.

Renoir remained positive and passionate about his art and did not let his condition affect his painting or diminish the beauty that he saw around him.

In his arthritis’s advanced stages, he required an assistant to place his paintbrush in his hand. His hands were also wrapped with bandages to prevent skin irritation. 

Renoir applied various effective coping strategies and used his ingenuity to develop different ways to continue painting even as his arthritis weakened him.

Renoir was a prolific artist who created several thousand paintings. The single most extensive collection of his works, about 181 paintings, is part of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

Mother and Children

  • Title:                Mother and Children
  • Also:                La Promenade
  • Artist:              Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • Date:              1876
  • Medium:         Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:    Height: 170.2 cm (67 in); Width: 108.3 cm (42.6 in)
  • Museum:        Frick Collection

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

“Mother and Children” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Virtual Tour of the Frick Collection

Secrets of Renoir’s ‘La Promenade’ Revealed

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“The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”
– Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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Photo Credit 1) Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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