Auguste Renoir - Leontine and Coco 1909

Leontine and Coco 1909
Leontine and Coco
1909 21х25cm oil/canvas
Private collection

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By this stage of his career, Renoir had moved away from the Impressionist style of the previous decades, and found a new source of inspiration in painters such as Titian and Rubens. Whilst very conscious of the achievements of the old masters, he continued to stress the role of spontaneity in his art. Walter Pach, the American painter and writer, visited Renoir in Cagnes between 1908 and 1922 and asked him: 'When you have laid in the first tones, do you know, for example, which others must follow? Do you know to what extent a red or a green must be introduced to secure your effect?' Renoir replied: 'No I don't; that is the procedure of an apothecary, not of an artist. I arrange my subject as I want it, then I go ahead and paint it, just like a child. I want a red to be sonorous, to sound like a bell; if it doesn't turn out that way, I put more reds or other colours till I get it. [...] there are myriads of tiny tints. I must find the ones that will make the flesh on my canvas live and quiver'
(W. Pach, Queer Thing Painting, 1938, reprinted in Nicholas Wadley(ed.). Renoir. A Retrospective , New York, 1987, p. 244).