Coco as Clown


The Clown (Claude Renoir), 1909

Aside from several portraits of his son Claude, Auguste Renoir rarely concerned himself with the subject of boys. From the abundance of beautiful women and graceful little girls whom he sensually portrayed in his later years, it is clear to see where his passion was. And why should we complain about that?

At first, this nine-year old clown seems to look rather serious (possibly even unhappy) in his staggering costume, but when we look closer, we can realize the sparkling sense humour which the boy can conceal just barely underneath the thin surface of earnestness, and we can only begin to wonder about all the tricks and stunts and funny jokes that this intelligent boy certainly presented to his family and friends during the carnival party following or preceding this painting...