Girl Crocheting Pierre-Auguste Renoir Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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In many ways, Girl Crocheting is typical of what came to be Renoir's distinctive style. It depicts his preferred gender of sitter - a young woman - in a domestic interior, engaged in a domestic task

The luminosity of the sitter's skin, her comfortable and secure attitude and the way in which her seeming vital glow is echoed in the vibrant colours of her garments and of the enclosed domestic space that surrounds her.

Interestingly, in this artistic creation called Girl Crocheting Renoir is here depicting an act of what could be described as another act of artistic creation - the craft of crochet. An artist at work depicts another artist absorbed in their work. Doubly, then, when we view Girl Crocheting we are very much immersed in creativity.

Renoir painted Girl Crocheting in 1885. The early 1880s were a period of great change for him as they were a time when he definitively started to shear away from the Impressionist movement. In around 1882, Renoir had visited Italy and Algeria and here he became entranced by the classical sculptures that he saw in the former country, and the bustling human life that he saw in both countries.

Renoir thus began to focus more on realistic, vital depictions of human life in his art works in the 1880s. In so doing, he broke from the Impressionists (indeed, art critics often designate this period as his 'rejection of Impressionism) and developed his own style.

Girl Crocheting is a prime example of this new style: the female sitter in this painting has a vivid life of her own. Nevertheless, some everyday art lovers and art critics do describe paintings by Renoir of the 1880s like Girl Crocheting as Impressionist pieces due to the bold emotions that they conjure up in the viewer, and due to their very rich use of colour.

Girl Crocheting is currently held in the Clark Institute in Williamstown, MA. It is by no means the first of his works of art to find its way to a gallery in the US as Renoir's art works are cherished throughout the world. Other paintings with female sitters by Renoir that can profitably be compared to Girl Crocheting include La Parisienne (1874), The Swing (1876) and By The Seashore 1883.

In all of these paintings, as with Girl Crocheting, the sitters are fully clothed and their garments also seem to be alive with vitality as much as their skins and expressions. Renoir continued painting almost right up to his death in 1919 and what is notable about his later works of art is the fact that more of them were nudes.

In these later years, Renoir painted numerous paintings of women bathing, for instance, either singly or in groups. Perhaps Girl Crocheting can be described as the turning point between the often elaborately clothed sitters of Renoir's paintings from the 1870s and the nudes he painted after the turn of the 20th century, because the sitter in Girl Crocheting seems to be slipping out of her garments. Her dress has slid downwards to reveal a shoulder, and so absorbed is she in her work that she has not thought to push it back up again.