In the Studio (Georges Riviere and Marguerite Legrand)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir ( French, 1841 - 1919 )
Pierre-Auguste Renoir often used his friends as models for genre scenes, most of which were posed and painted in the studio. The sitters for this small painting were the amateur critic Georges Rivière and the artist's model Marguerite Legrand, known professionally as Margot. Rivière was a fervent supporter of impressionism and published a short-lived journal called L'Impressionisme, in which he championed Renoir for the way he captured contemporary Parisian life.
In later years, Rivière wrote that Margot, the model with whom he posed, "personified the trashy working-class suburban girl." Renoir's depiction of the mismatched couple, though, was sophisticated enough that for many decades the painting was believed to be a portrait of the Romantic composer Benjamin Goddard and his wife.
Heather MacDonald, DMA label copy, 2015.