Pierre Auguste Renoir
(Limoges, 1841-1919, Cagnes)
Two Girls (Summer Hats), 1893
Oil on canvas, 65 x 54 cm
Signed lower right: Renoir
Dauberville 995
It is not strange that the little girls from rich families in their Sunday clothes – their "Sunday's best" – at times seem like excessively big and expensive dolls with which one cannot play. The painter of the "Moulin de la Galette" remained fundamentally an alien among the haute bourgeoisie, he was more at ease among his own kind. The children of his simple neighbours on Montmartre were closer to him, the little milliners and flower girls. They were the prototypes of the type of girl that was in love with life and which he modified to conform to his ideal, and which he never tired of constantly worshipping in paint. With sensual brush, he revels in their fresh virginal quality, their soft shapes and their girlish trumpery, the opulent tulle hat with which they emulate the great ladies; perhaps we may really be seeing in this model a little modiste, who is decorating the straw hat framing the little face of the younger girl with a few flowers that the latter has brought along. Renoir later based a lithographi and an etching on the motive of this painting.