French painter Felix Vallotton was a contemporary of Pierre Renoir. A
painting he did in 1906 was included in a book on Renoir's Portraits and
compared with Renoir paintings of children.
The painting shows a little boy, Jean Dauberville,
standing beside some kind of rocking toy. The painting demonstrates that
well after the turn of the century, French mothers were still outfitting
little boys in dresses.
Jean is dressed in light blue or other colored dress with a freshly starched pinafore worn over it. Note the lace ruffles at the shoulder. I cannot tell the color because the photo of the painting is in black and white. Along with the dress Jean appears to be wearing pastel colored strap shoes, shoulder length bobbed hair, bangs, with a hair bow worn to the side. Jean's hair bow is relatively large. Often the hair bows worn by boys were smaller than those worn by their sisters.
Figure 1.--Jean Dauberville in this 1906 portrait is impossible to identify as a boy, with the exception of the whip in his hand. Note the hairbow in the boy's hair, a popular fashion for boys in France.
I think this mode of dress, I. e., dressing boys and girls in identical
clothes even to the point of curling their son's hair and fixing it with
hair boys, must have been common in bourgeois French families. Otherwise,
why would there be so many expample?
I think I've seen this painting somewhere. However, it was probably
labeled: "Girl with Flowers" or some similar title. I've noticed that
people who write art books pay little attention to the identity of the
subject. However, at least for portrait painting, the identity of the
subject establishes the context for the painting.
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