Renoir’s Girl with a Watering Can (1876) is one of my favorite paintings as it looks just like my daughter Jamie did when she was a little girl. It was as if Renoir captured her likeness as well as her precocious, sweet spirit on this small canvas 140 years ago.
Renoir loved to paint women and children and his best pictures are of people with whom he had a personal relationship. This little girl, Mademoiselle Leclere, was the daughter of a family friend and was painted in Monet’s famous garden at Argenteuil.
As I have noted previously, one thing that draws me to Renoir’s paintings is the use of brilliant colors such as the deep blue of her dress, the bright red of the bow and the her lips and the fresh summer greens of the bountiful garden in the background. Renoir also illuminates his paintings with opalescent white touches of paint applied to the lace on her dress and socks as well as the roses in the foreground. This painting recalls the smells, sounds and sights of the carefree, lazy days of summer; children laughing and playing in the backyard, family vacations, and great quality time that is ephemeral.
When I first saw this painting in 2002 at the National Gallery of Art in D.C., I connected with it instantly. I bought a print in the gift shop and displayed it in my home until most recently when I passed it on to Jamie, who is now a beautiful young lady of 25!
Copyright 2016 by Robyn Lowrie. May be quoted in part or full only with attribution to Robyn Lowrie (www.frenchquest.com)