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About the Work
Tête de Jeune Fille
sanguine, charcoal and pastel on paper, signed 'Renoir' lower left
image size: 11 x 8.5
certified by Francis Daulte, dated Lausanne, le 14 Novecubre 1994 (1991?)
reproduced in the catalog "Catalog Raisonne de l'Oeuvre de Renoir" Pastels, Aquarelles et Descius de l'Artiste
This pastel was most likely executed by Renoir in the 1890's when, encouraged by his dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, he further explored his interest in portraiture. Renoir began to experiment in the genre using different formats and media, in particular oil, pastel, and colored crayon. He focused on the expression of the sitters, thus isolating the head and bust, sometimes casting them against a neutral background - as in the pivotal Berth Morisot and her Daughter Julie Manet (1894); more often as in Christine Lerolle Embroidering (1897, Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio), capturing the subject in a more prosaic, animated setting.
The birth of Renoir's second son, Jean, in September 1894, greatly influenced the artist's approach to portraiture, and notably the representation of children and adolescents. The attentive observation of the infant's spontaneous gestures and postures led him to loosen his hands, towards lively and immediate interpretations. Moreover, the use of pastel allowed him a greater degree of freedom in the rendition of details and expressions. The variety of technical solutions available - from stomping, to hatching, to nuancing - prompted Renoir to favor this medium, and he acquired an unprecedented ease with it. His palette brightened up, becoming warmer, sunnier. As Tête de Jeune Fille shows, Renoir reveled in employing different hues of yellows, oranges, and pinks all subtly interplaying to celebrate the golden splendor of youth.