National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Girl with a Hoop Auguste Renoir (artist)
French, 1841 - 1919
Girl with a Hoop, 1885
oil on canvas
overall: 125.7 x 76.6 cm (49 1/2 x 30 3/16 in.) framed: 148 x 100.6 cm (58 1/4 x 39 5/8 in.)
Chester Dale Collection
1963.10.58
On View
From the Tour: Mary Cassatt, Auguste Renoir
Object 6 of 7

In the 1880s, Renoir, like many of the impressionists, had become dissatisfied with the style's reliance on observation and visual effects and sought an art of more permanent qualities. "I had wrung impressionism dry," he later wrote, "and I finally came to the conclusion that I knew neither how to paint [nor] draw."

On a trip to Italy in 1881, Renoir found new inspiration in the works of Renaissance artists, particularly Raphael, and developed a manner of painting he called "aigre," or "sour." The word conveys a sense of the hardness and tightness of his new style, exemplified by Girl with a Hoop, a portrait Renoir was commissioned to paint of a nine-year-old named Marie Goujon. The colors, though in some areas thickly applied, have a feeling of transparency. In her skin they are smoothly blended into a silky, almost liquid texture that seems to flow along the form. Brushstrokes are tight and firm; they have a smoothness like that of the girl's skin itself. The contours of her figure are crisply defined, almost as if they were outlined. In the background, elongated brushstrokes underscore this feeling of line. Compare these hard edges with the loose and sketchy impressionist style of Girl with a Watering Can, where the brushwork and image dissolve in prismatic color.

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