RENOIR, Pierre-Auguste
(b, 1841, Limoges, d. 1919, Cagnes-sur-Mer)

Gabrielle with Jewellery

Oil on canvas, 82 x 66 cm
Private collection

When Renoir painted the maid, Gabrielle, he transformed her into the very epitome of female youth, bloom and happiness. We see her in a flimsy negligée at an 18th-century dressing table, pleased to see how jewellery and a rose in her hair enhance her own beauty.

Gabrielle Renard (1879-1959) was a cousin of Aline's who joined the household in 1894 as Jean's nanny and did not leave till she married an American painter in 1914. Possibly she did not really possess the grace we see in her. Perhaps Renoir was following his own ideal rather than visible fact.