Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Portrait of Jeanne Samary. 1877

The female image occupies a special place in Renoir's work as the embodiment of spiritual clarity, purity and serenity of living. One of the artist's favourite models in the 1870s was Jeanne Samary, a young actress at the Comédie Française. She made her début in 1875 as Dorine in Moliére's play Tartuffe. Before her marriage she lived in the rue Frochot not far from Renoir's studio and often posed for the artist. In 1877 Renoir painted one of his loveliest portraits of her. Smiling and thoughtful at the same time, in a charming green-blue dress, the actress is shown against an airy pink background. The artist emphasises his model's best features, her feminine grace, lively mind, the somewhat mischievous expression in her blue eyes and the radiant smile that "lights up all around".

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

1841–1919