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Born in 1831 and living until 1922, Paul Durand Ruel was a prominent French art dealer
He worked with several giants of the French and European artistic scene, including Claude Monet, Georges Petit, Berthe Morisot, and of course Claude Renoir who painted this work entitled The Daughters of Paul Durand Ruel Marie Theresa and Jeanne.
Ruel was very much appreciated by the artists of his day as he took it upon himself to support and nourish the careers of several of them by providing them with group exhibitions and solo shows, as well as marketing their work to help them to earn a living by it.
Perhaps The Daughters of Paul Durand Ruel Marie Theresa and Jeanne was a work of gratitude for the services that Ruel had rendered to Renoir. Though it obviously has a personal story behind it, this work of art is also valuable as a standalone piece - even if we did not know who Ruel was or what his relation to Renoir was, we can still profoundly appreciate the beauty of this piece. John Singer Sargent, an artist closely related to the impressionist movement, also created several portraits of daughters and other women. The best included Portrait of Madame X, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose and The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit.
Ruel was particularly associated with the French Impressionists and with the more realist Barbizon school of painting (again, dominated by French artists and developed in the French village of Barbizon), all of whom preferred to paint their subject outdoors (or 'en plein aire' as the style came to be known).
Though in the early 1880s, Renoir had started to move away from Impressionism and towards his own more realist style, The Daughters of Paul Durand Ruel Marie Theresa and Jeanne (which was painted in 1882) would definitely have appealed to Ruel's tastes. This work of art depicts Ruel's two eponymous daughters sitting together on a bench outside on what is clearly a glorious day.
As is typical of so many of Renoir's portraits, the overall mood is one of warmth, security and jollity. Renoir commonly painted sitters in family relationships, and The Daughters of Paul Durand Ruel Marie Theresa and Jeanne is no different. Indeed, Theresa and Jeanne are relating to each other as we watch them: they appear to be sharing a joke.
Renoir's paintings are often described as depicting their human subjects as having an inner glow - this luminosity is particularly seen in their skin but is echoed often in the colours of their clothing.
The Daughters of Paul Durand Ruel Marie Theresa and Jeanne is a prime example of a painting like this - the two girls seem to simply glow with youth, and this effect is bolstered by the light colour of the spring like (or perhaps summery) dresses that they wear. The overall effect of this painting is one that encapsulates the carefree days of the height of spring or summer out in the countryside, safe in the bosom of the family.