Friday, November 03, 2006

Renoir's Last Day

In his memoir of his father, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the film director Jean Renoir wrote movingly of his father's last day. From Renoir : my Father; by Jean Renoir ; introduction by Robert Herbert ; translated by Randolph and Dorothy Weaver (page 431)

"This profusion of riches which poured forth from Renoir's austere palette is overwhelming in the last picture he painted, on the morning of his death. An infection which had developed in his lungs kept him to his room. He asked for his paintbox and brushes, and he painted the anemones which Nénette, our kind-hearted maid, had gone out and gathered for him. For several hours he identified himself with these flowers, and forgot his pain. Then he motioned for someone to take his brush and said, 'I think I am beginning to understand something about it.' That is the phrase Grand' Louise repeated to me. The nurse thought he said, 'Today I learned something.'"



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