Renoir & His Son Loved the Same Woman
Not only did Pierre-Auguste Renoir and his son Jean share DNA and a facility for decorating ceramics, but also a muse, Andree Heuschling. She was the father’s last model, subject of more than 100 paintings. Andree’s nimbus of strawberry-blonde hair and folds of golden brioche skin are familiar to those who know the painter’s late works. Weeks after Pierre-Auguste’s death, Andree and Jean wed. Under the name Catherine Hessling (and by this time streamlined as an Art Deco hood ornament), she starred in five of Jean’s early films, including Nana (1926) and The Poor Little Match Girl (1928).
“The desire of the son merges with the old man’s fascination with the same object,” writes Pascal Merigeau, the French film critic. For Merigeau, this is creepy. He asks, “Has there been a more disturbing convergence in the whole history of art?” Unsettling, perhaps, yet how many lovers are brought together by a shared love for a third party?
From “Looking at Renoirs, Moving and Still” by Carrie Rickey for Hyperallergic; Image of P-A Renoir’s FEMME ARRANGEANT DES FLEURS OR LA FEMME AU BOUQUET
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