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Tilla Durieux (Ottilie Godeffroy, 1880–1971)

Auguste Renoir (French, Limoges 1841–1919 Cagnes-sur-Mer)

Date:
1914
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
36 1/4 x 29 in. (92.1 x 73.7 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Bequest of Stephen C. Clark, 1960
Accession Number:
61.101.13
  • Gallery Label

    In July 1914, just prior to the outbreak of World War I, the famous German actress Tilla Durieux traveled to Paris with her husband, the art dealer Paul Cassirer, to pose for Renoir. The classicizing, pyramidal format of this composition lends a certain grandeur to the sitter, attired in the costume that the couturier Poiret designed for her role as Eliza Doolittle in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion in 1913. When Renoir painted this ambitious portrait, he was so crippled with arthritis that he had to sit in a wheelchair with his brush strapped to his hand.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): Renoir / 1914

  • Provenance

    the sitter, later Mrs. Paul Cassirer, Berlin (1914-35; commissioned by Cassirer from the artist; due to the onset of war between France and Germany, the painting remained with Renoir until his death in 1919; the painting was then held by Renoir's Paris dealers until the mid 1920s; the painting was released subsequent to the settling of accounts between Cassirer (Tilla's husband) and the French dealers; Tilla and Cassirer brought the painting to Berlin, where it remained with Tilla until her departure in April 1933; with Tilla in Switzerland and finally Zagreb, from which it was consigned to Feilchenfeldt at the Galerie Cassirer); [Cassirer, Amsterdam, 1935; sold in March for Swiss Fr 30,000 to Bignou]; [Étienne Bignou, Paris and New York, 1935; sold to Clark]; Stephen C. Clark, New York (1935–d. 1960)

  • Exhibition History

    New York. Bignou Gallery. "Renoir, 1841–1919," December 1935, no. 14 (as "Portrait de Madame Tilla Durieux," lent anonymously).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Renoir: A Special Exhibition of His Paintings," May 18–September 12, 1937, no. 60 (lent by Stephen C. Clark).

    New York. World's Fair. "Masterpieces of Art: European & American Paintings, 1500–1900," May–October 1940, no. 337 (lent by Stephen C. Clark).

    New York. Duveen Galleries. "Renoir, Centennial Loan Exhibition, 1841-1941," November 8–December 6, 1941, no. 81 (lent by Stephen C. Clark).

    New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Twentieth Century Portraits," December 9, 1942–January 24, 1943, unnumbered cat. (lent by Stephen C. Clark).

    New York. Century Association. "Paintings from the Stephen C. Clark Collection," June 6–September 28, 1946, unnum. checklist.

    New York. Paul Rosenberg & Co.. "Delacroix and Renoir," February 16–March 13, 1948, no. 28 (lent by Stephen C. Clark).

    New York. Century Association. "Trends in European Painting, 1880–1930," February 2–March 31, 1949, no. 18 (lent by Stephen C. Clark).

    New Haven. Yale University Art Gallery. "French Paintings of the Latter Half of the Nineteenth Century from the Collections of Alumni and Friends of Yale," April 17–May 21, 1950, no. 17 (lent by Stephen C. Clark [Class of 1903] and Mrs. Clark).

    New York. M. Knoedler & Co.. "A Collectors Taste: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen C. Clark," January 12–30, 1954, no. 17.

    Paris. Musée de l'Orangerie. "De David à Toulouse-Lautrec: Chefs-d'œuvre des collections américaines," Spring 1955, no. 49 (lent by Stephen C. Clark).

    New York. Wildenstein. "Renoir," April 8–May 10, 1958, no. 67 (lent by Stephen C. Clark).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 1–September 1, 1958, no. 111 (lent by Stephen C. Clark).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 7–September 7, 1959, no. 86 (lent by Stephen C. Clark).

    New Haven. Yale University Art Gallery. "Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture Collected by Yale Alumni," May 19–June 26, 1960, no. 60 (lent by Stephen C. Clark).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 6–September 4, 1960, no. 96 (lent by Stephen C. Clark).

    Baltimore Museum of Art. "1914: An Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture," October 6–November 15, 1964, no. 202.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Impressionism: A Centenary Exhibition," December 12, 1974–February 10, 1975, not in catalogue.

    London. Hayward Gallery. "Renoir," January 30–April 21, 1985, no. 122.

    Paris. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. "Renoir," May 14–September 2, 1985, no. 122.

    Ottawa. National Gallery of Canada. "Renoir's Portraits: Impressions of an Age," June 27–September 14, 1997, no. 68.

    Art Institute of Chicago. "Renoir's Portraits: Impressions of an Age," October 17, 1997–January 4, 1998, no. 68.

    Fort Worth. Kimbell Art Museum. "Renoir's Portraits: Impressions of an Age," February 8–April 26, 1998, no. 68.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings," May 22–August 19, 2007, no. 346.

  • References

    Julius Meier-Graefe. Renoir. Leipzig, 1929, pp. 424, 436, ill., publishes a photograph of Renoir painting it.

    Mary Morsell. "Etienne Bignou Holds Exhibit of Renoir's Art." Art News 34 (December 7, 1935), pp. 3–5, ill.

    Renoir, 1841–1919. Exh. cat., Bignou Gallery. New York, 1935, unpaginated, no. 14, ill., notes that it was painted in June–July of 1914; provides provenance information stating that it belonged to the private collection of Frau Tilla Durieux, Holland.

    James W. Lane. "Thirty-three Masterpieces in a Modern Collection: Mr. Stephen C. Clark's Paintings by American and European Masters." Art News Annual 37 (February 25, 1939), p. 132.

    Monroe Wheeler. 20th-century Portraits. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1942, pp. 12, 142, ill. (color, frontispieces), compares it to a lithograph of the sitter by Kokoschka and a bust of her by Barlach.

    Delacroix and Renoir. Exh. cat., Paul Rosenberg & Co. New York, 1948, pp. 80–81, no. 28, ill.

    Walter Pach. Pierre-Auguste Renoir. New York, 1950, p. 120, ill. opp. p. 120.

    John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. rev., enl. ed. New York, 1961, pp. 584–85, ill. (color), publishes a photograph of Durieux sitting for this portrait in Renoir's studio.

    Clare Vincent. "In Search of a Likeness: Some European Portrait Sculpture." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 24 (April 1966), pp. 258–59, no. 23, ill.

    Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX–XX Centuries." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 3, New York, 1967, pp. 161–63, ill.

    John House in Renoir. Exh. cat., Hayward Gallery. [London], 1985, pp. 171, 287, no. 122, ill. (color and black and white) [French ed., pp. 354–55, no. 120, ill. (color)], calls it "the finest and most ambitious of Renoir's late portraits," in which "Renoir adopted the rhetorical devices of High Renaissance portraiture".

    Colin B. Bailey in Colin B. Bailey. Renoir's Portraits: Impressions of an Age. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. New Haven, 1997, pp. 259–61, 341–42, no. 68, ill. (color, and in photograph).

    Sarah Lees in The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings. Exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, Mass., 2006, pp. 167, 315, 341, no. 346.

    Richard Rand in The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings. Exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, Mass., 2006, p. 253, fig. 186 (color).

    Gilbert T. Vincent and Sarah Lees in The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings. Exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, Mass., 2006, p. 181, fig. 148 (color installation photograph of Stephen Clark's townhouse).

    Monique Nonne in Renoir in the 20th Century. Exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Ostfildern, 2010, p. 100, fig. 38 (color) [French ed., "Renoir au XXe siècle," Paris, 2009].

    Sylvie Patry in Renoir in the 20th Century. Exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Ostfildern, 2010, p. 204, under no. 19 [French ed., "Renoir au XXe siècle," Paris, 2009].



  • Notes

    Tilla Durieux, a well-known actress, was married to the Berlin art dealer Paul Cassirer at the time this portrait was painted. She drove from Berlin to Paris and sat for Renoir morning and afternoon for two weeks, dressed in the costume she had worn in the next to last act of "Pygmalion" at Lessing Theater, Berlin, in 1913.

    There are several portraits by other artists of Durieux, including a lithograph by Kokoschka (Museum Ludwig, Cologne), several bronze busts by Barlach (Harvard University, Cambridge and Ernst Barlach Haus, Hamburg), and a pastel by Franz von Stuck.

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