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Aline and Pierre-Auguste...

Small in stature, blond hair with auburn highlights, Aline Charigot (1859-1915) was working as a seamstress when she met Pierre Auguste Renoir around 1879 close to his studio on rue Saint-Georges in Paris. From then on, their destinies will merge. Passionate about art and music, Aline will be for the painter much more than a model, a true muse. They will marry in 1890 and she will give him three sons Pierre, Jean and Claude.

Pierre Auguste Renoir. Camille et Jean dans le jardin d'Argenteuil. 1874. National Gallery of Art. Washington.
Pierre Auguste Renoir. Couple de canotiers 1881. Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Originally from Essoyes, in Aube, little Aline Charigot was lovely and solar. Abandoned by her father when she was only one year old, brought up by her mother, she had managed, through hard work and economy, to learn to play the piano and became interested in art, even starting a small collection by decorating her bedroom with paintings by Johan Barthold Jongkind.

Édouard Manet. Claude Monet dans son bateau atelier. 1874. Neue Pinakothek Münich
Pierre Auguste Renoir. Le déjeuner des canotiers (détail). vers 1881. The Phillips Collection Washington DC

Between 1880 and 1915, Aline will not stop posing for Renoir. In 1881, she appeared in the foreground of the famous "lunch of the boating people", next to Hippolyte Fournaise and opposite Gustave Caillebotte. It also seems that she is the lovely young woman who faces Pierre Auguste in his "boating couple" which dates from the same period.

Édouard Manet. Claude Monet dans son bateau atelier. 1874. Staatsgalerie. Stuttgart
Pierre Auguste Renoir. Jeune femme lisant un journal. 1880. RISD Museum Providence

Renoir is enchanted by her cheeky face, her permanent curiosity, her candor tinged with strong morality. In each work where Aline poses nude, we feel from Renoir the absolute affection of an artist who lovingly caresses the forms of the young woman, whose unconscious erotic charge makes her a true goddess.

Pierre Auguste Renoir. Camille Monet. 1872. Musée Marmottant Monet.
Pierre Auguste Renoir. La Baigneuse blonde. 1881. Clark Art Institute. Williamstown

After buying a house in Essoyes in 1896, the couple moved to Cagnes-sur-Mer from 1903. In 1907, Renoir acquired the Domaine des Collettes where he had the Nice architect Jules Febvre build the house where he will end his days in 1919.

Suffering from diabetes, Aline died of a heart attack on June 27, 1915, on her return from an exhausting trip to Gérarmer to visit her son Jean, who had been shot in the leg.

Berthe Morisot wrote about Aline, immediately after meeting her: "I can't tell you how amazed I was in front of a person... whom I don't know why I imagined myself identical to her husband's painting" ..

In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the French 19th century...

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