French Sculpture Census

© artiste : Fair Use (Section 107, Copyright Act, 1976) | For the works by Renoir alone: public domain

RENOIR, Pierre-Auguste
Limoges, Haute-Vienne 1841 - Cagnes-sur-Mer, Alpes-Maritimes 1919

GUINO, Richard
Gérone, Espagne 1890 - Antony, Hauts-de-Seine 1973

Maternité : Madame Renoir et son fils
Maternity: Madame Renoir and Son

vers 1916
terre cuite

51,1 x 24,8 x 32,4

N° d'inv. : 1983.1.72
Credit Line : Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon

Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, The National Gallery of Art


  • Claude Renoir, un des fils de l'artiste
  • Paris, Galerie Dina Vierny
  • 1966, acheté par Mr. et Mrs. Paul Mellon, Upperville, Virginie
  • 1983, don à la National Gallery of Art, Washington


  • Museum's website, August 2, 2011
  • 1994 NGA Washington
    Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1994, p. 187, repr.


  • 2005 Columbus
    Renoir's Women, Columbus (Ohio) Museum of Art, 2005-2006, fig. 44

Oeuvres en rapport

Maternité, bronze, 1916, Sotheby's New York, 14 mai 1992, lot 240.


Museum's website, 2 August 2011:
Renoir's wife Aline had always been among his favorite models. Her fresh, full face and figure appeared in paintings throughout his career.
When Aline died in 1915, Renoir decided to create a monument to mark her gravesite. The painter had turned to sculpture several years before, when rheumatoid arthritis made it too difficult to manipulate a paintbrush. With young Catalan artist Richard Guino (who had studied sculpture with Aristide Maillol), he established a working method: Renoir would select one of his paintings, and under his close supervision, Guino would model the image into a three-dimensional clay work.
For this sculpture, Renoir used a portrait he had made of Aline nursing their first-born son, Pierre, some twenty years before. In the painting, Aline, dressed casually in sunhat and seated in her garden, looks up from the chubby baby she holds to her breast. Renoir loved her natural, unselfconscious look; he equated this image of motherhood with the constancy and timelessness of nature.
In the end, Renoir did not expand the small terracotta into a monument, instead he enlarged and cast just the head and bust to mark Aline's grave. A full replica of Maternity in polychromed cement was set up in the Renoir family garden at Cagnes-sur-Mer.