Pierre Auguste Renoir: Clowns

Figure 1.--This painting was Claude Renoir as a Clown. It was done in 1909. Paris Museum.

Sometimes Renoir dressed the children as "pierrots", a kind of French clown. (A typical male character in French pantomime with a whitened face and wearing a loose white fancy costume.) Renoir liked painting clowns, perhaps in part because he could frrly use color. One of the most famous of these clown paintings was of Claude painted in 1909. At the time Claude was about 8 years old. Although he was not painted as much as his older Jean, Renoir also used Claude as a model. In this case he wanted Claude to dress up as a clown. Apparently the boy was not too happy about the idea. He had to be bribed to dress up. Imagine, having to be bribed to be painted by Renoir! Apparently Claude objected to the itchy white stockings he wore with his red clown costume. French boys at the time did not wear long stockings nearly as much as was the case in America, England, and Germany.


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Created: February 8, 2002
Last updated: February 8, 2002