Pierre Auguste Renoir
(Limoges, 1841-1919, Cagnes)
The Source, 1906
Oil on canvas, 92 x 73 cm
Signed lower right: Renoir

Renoir was sixty-five years old when, in 1906, he painted "The Source"; he was already suffering from rheumatism, which deformed his painter’s hand and increasingly bound him to his chair. The constant pain had turned him into an old man. But youth surrounded him; Claude, better known by his childhood name Coco, the youngest of his three sons, was only five years old. And to this youth he dedicated his painting all the more ardently the more he was excluded from it as an ailing old man; he devoted his work to his children and their cheerful and play and to his young female models full of exuberant vitality. "The Source" in its animal youthfulness is a child of nature; the rushing brook becomes the long, blond hairand the pliant foliage the soft curves of her body. At the same time "The Source" is akin to the "Bathers", which Renoir had painted twenty-five years earlier, because he allowed himself to be guided more by his ideal than by his models.