Aileen Ribeiro, professor of History of Art at The Courtauld Institute of Art, discusses Renoir's portrayal of French fashion in his painting. Ribeiro talks about Renoir's struggle to represent formal dress in a compelling fashion.
The period after the fall of the Second Empire in France saw huge developments in the fashion industry, not just in haute couture, but also in the greater availability of ready-to-wear clothes and in the emergence of Paris's shopping culture. More people than ever before expressed an interest in fashion trends, a phenomenon that was reflected in contemporary art and literature. This lecture explores some of the ways in which Renoir depicted fashion and fabrics in his paintings of the 1870s and 1880s.