Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Portrait of the Actress Jeanne Samary

Portrait of the Actress Jeanne Samary
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Portraiture, Painting, Oil on canvas, 174x105 cm
Origin: France, 1878

Jeanne Samary was an actress at the Comedie-Francaise. This portrait of her is perhaps one of the most famous of Renoir's many renowned canvases. The charming woman who, according to the artist, "positively shone", posed for him on a number of occasions, although mainly for half-length portraits.

In this painting she stands against a background of potted palms and carpets, recreating the interior of a drawing room or - as is more likely - a theatre foyer. True to the Impressionist principle of painting life as it truly is, the artist showed the actress in her usual setting. The imposing nature of this portrait, which makes it much more official than Renoir's other works, reminds us that it was intended for exhibition at the Salon, in which mainly artists of the Academie took part.

Yet the manner of execution has nothing in common with the art of the French Academie. In the soft, fluid contours, in the vibrant texture and in the finest of colour reflections, we see the hand of this mature master of Impressionism.

Style: Impressionism
Source of entry: State Museum of New Western Art, Moscow, 1948
Exibition: French Art: 19th - 20th centuries

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