La Maternité by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

  • This highly personal bronze was conceived by the great French Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • Entitled La Maternite, it captures his wife, Aline, with their first-born son, Pierre
  • It is based on one of Renoir's greatest paintings, which is in the collection of the Musée d'Orsay
  • Renoir created incredibly few sculptures, making this one extremely rare and important
  • Get complete item description here
Price available upon request Item No. 31-2515

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir
1841-1919 | French

La Maternité

Inscribed “Renoir,” numbered D and stamped “C. Valsuani Cire Perdue”

This poignant bronze executed by the great Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir captures the artist’s wife, Aline, breastfeeding their first-born son, Pierre. It is a touching reflection of maternal love that represents the artistic ingenuity of one of art history’s most famed artists. It is a loving portrayal executed in a manner that seems almost as if one of Renoir’s famed canvases has come to life.

The bronze is indeed based on Renoir’s earlier 1885 painted masterpiece also entitled Maternité, which is in the collection of the Musée d’Orsay (Paris). The painting was completed in the first few months after his son’s birth on March 21, 1885. At the time, Renoir had begun to turn away from the Impressionist style in favor of a more traditional aesthetic. The French Neoclassical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was his greatest influence during the mid- to late 1880s, which has since become known as his “Ingres period.” His 1885 Maternité clearly demonstrates this admiration in both its compositional balance and its clear emphasis on volume, form, contour and line rather than color and brushstroke. 

From its intimate portrayal of such a nurturing act, it is clear to see why the artist would choose to recapture the tender moment in sculpture. In choosing such a personal subject, Renoir was also offering a "modern" version of a classical theme – the Madonna and child.

Renoir was not a prolific sculptor, since arthritis crippled his hands just around the time he began working in the art form. In 1913, Renoir hired the sculptor Richard Guino to assist him in his bronzework. Guino proved to have an uncanny ability to understand and translate Renoir’s style, thus helping the artist to create some of his greatest works in bronze.

Conceived in 1916

10” wide x 12” deep x 21” high
La Maternité by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Maker: Renoir, Pierre-Auguste
Period: 1816-1918
Origin: France
Type: Sculpture
Depth: 12.0 Inches
Width: 10.0 Inches
Height: 21.0 Inches
Style: Impressionism

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