Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Coco dans les roses
signed 'Renoir' (upper right)
oil on canvas
1112 x 714 in. (29.5 x 18.3 cm.)
Painted circa 1905
Ambroise Vollard, Paris (acquired from the artist).
The Estate of Ambroise Vollard, Paris (shipped to New York by Martin Fabiani, Paris, 1939; seized by the British Navy, 1940, and stored at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa until returned to Jeanne and Leontine Vollard, Paris, 1949).
Charles and Sylvia Gilman, New York.
Tel Aviv University and Tel Aviv Museum of Art (gift from the above, 1981); sale, Christie's, New York, 9 November 2000, lot 137.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owners.
A. Vollard, Tableaux, pastels et dessins de Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paris, 1918, vol. II, p. 148 (illustrated).
G.-P. and M. Dauberville, Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, 1903-1910, Paris, 2012, vol. IV, p. 282, no. 3159 (illustrated; dated 1905-1907).
Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, Paintings from the Vollard Collection, December 1950-January 1951, p. 10, no. 48 (titled Portrait du fils de l’artiste—Coco).
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Masters of Modern Art: Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, and Twentieth-Century Artists: Private Collectors Salute the Tel Aviv Museum, May-September 1982, no. 136 (illustrated in color; titled Tête d'enfant).
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Lot Essay

This work will be included in the forthcoming Pierre-Auguste Renoir Digital Catalogue Raisonné, currently being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc.

Renoir’s youngest son, Claude, was born in Essoyes on 4 August 1901, when the artist was sixty years old. Having another child at this stage of his life brought Renoir great joy and inspiration. Claude—lovingly nicknamed Coco—soon became Renoir's favorite model, replacing Jean, his older brother. As Jean Renoir recalled: “It was while we were living in the rue Caulaincourt that my father had me pose for him most often. A few years later my brother Claude, who was seven years younger than I, was to take my place in the studio. Coco certainly proved one of the most prolific inspirations my father ever had” (Renoir, My Father, New York, 1958, p. 364). The artist viewed his youngest son as a symbol of youth and innocence, even as Renoir himself began to suffer from old age.

This charming work suggests Renoir’s affection for his son and his devotion to capturing the boy’s cherubic likeness. Renoir depicted his son prior to his first haircut, with his long blonde curls—typical of young boys in the late nineteenth century—still intact. Coco’s rosy, flushed cheeks echo the studies of pretty pink blooms in the upper quadrant of the canvas. These rich, warm colors, applied with feathery brushstrokes, are characteristic of Renoir’s later work. The intimate scale of the painting and the close proximity to the subject indicate the domestic context in which it was created.

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