Auguste Renoir - Lady in a black dress 1876

Lady in a black dress 1876
Lady in a black dress
1876 65x55cm oil/canvas
The State Hermitage Museum

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From The State Hermitage Museum:
This lyrical image of a typical "Renoir woman" is the embodiment of natural harmony and femininity. Painted at the height of the Impressionist movement, the work demonstrates a mastery of complex nuances of colour, best seen in the treatment of the black dress. The dress reveals a multitude of different shades of grey and greyish-blue as it is caught by the light, the only use of true black being in the darkest of shadows. There is a similarly skilful use of colour reflections in the white cuffs and collar. The face is painted less broadly and in more detail. This device, characteristic of Renoir's portraits, is combined with a free, vibrant brushstrokes. It has been suggested that the sitter is Mme Hartmann, wife of the famous music publisher, although it is also possible that she is Anne, one of Renoir's models.