Aaron M. and Clara Weitzenhoffer
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (France, 1841–1919)
Coco (Claude), c. 1905
Oil on canvas
9 ½ x 10 in.
Aaron M. and Clara Weitzenhoffer Bequest, 2000
Claude Renoir (1901-1969), nicknamed “Coco,” was the third and youngest son of artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Coco was born when the artist was 60 and quickly became his father’s favorite model, replacing his older brother Jean. Pierre-Auguste painted his youngest son regularly, as if tracing his age. In this study, Coco is roughly four years old and wears his hair long with a ribbon on the right side of his head, following the fashion for young boys at the turn of the century. He rests his elbow on a table, reading a book before him. Renoir filled the remaining canvas with additional studies of Coco’s face as well as a single chrysanthemum in the upper right.
Renoir executed a finished painting of Coco reading in 1905, which is currently in the collection of the Maison de Renoir, Cagnes-sur-Mer, France. The youngest son went on to an influential career as a film and television producer, following his eldest brother Pierre, a popular character actor, and Jean, who became a celebrated filmmaker. After his retirement, Claude began a career as a ceramicist with his son Paul.