Pierre-Auguste Renoir ( French, 1841 - 1919 )
- c. 1867–1868
Pierre-Auguste Renoir met Lise Tréhot in the spring of 1866, when he painted in and around the Forest of Fontainebleau with Jules Le Coeur and Alfred Sisley. Between that year and early 1872, he painted her obsessively, which has led most scholars to conclude that they were lovers. In 1872, Tréhot abandoned Renoir and married a young architect, Georges Brière de l'Isle. Tradition holds that she never again saw Renoir. Of the two portraits of Tréhot in the Reves Collection, "Lise Sewing" is the earlier. Douglas Cooper, who studied both portraits and all the surviving family documents, concluded from literary and stylistic evidence that the painting, along with another (Barnes Collection, Merion, Pennsylvania), was done in 1866, shortly after Renoir met Tréhot (Cooper 1959). Although Cooper's arguments are justified, they are not utterly convincing, and the painting can be more closely compared on stylistic grounds to a work signed and dated 1868 at the Nationalgalerie, Berlin, entitled "Lise," or "The Gypsy Girl." "Lise Sewing" is not in any strict sense a portrait. Rather, Renoir used Tréhot as a model for a conventional painting of a woman sewing. His allusions to current fashion link this representation with the contemporary paintings of Manet, while the broad treatment of the background and sparing use of the palette knife have often evoked comparison with Courbet's paintings of the mid-1860s. This comparison is compelling; Renoir, like Courbet, was a painter of flesh and blood, not of fashion or appearance, and the fact that the subject is portrayed as self-occupied and married gives the male viewer, for whom it might have been made, an even greater pleasure in admiring the beauty of this moral and, hence, inaccessible woman. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this superb painting is its provenance; it was owned by the sitter throughout her life. "Impressionist Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture from the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection," page 34
Learn about Lise Sewing and Lise in a White Shawl.
Art historian John House speaks about Lise Tréhotâ019s relationship with Renoir.
Art historian John House discusses Lise Tréhot as a model.