Unique French Child Artist Mannequin with Renoir Provenance

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42" (107 cm.) One-piece paper mache head,torso and legs,with hand-pressed details of facial modeling,the head posed turned slightly to the side and upward tilted,with unusual very deep eye sculpting lending a dimensional effect that is enhanced by dark shaded painting,grey eye shadow,brown eyeliner and shaded brows,accented nostrils of small rounded nose,closed mouth with solemn expression,wooden upper arms designed for articulation at the shoulders and elbows,paper mache lower arms with fingers posed for holding articles,the right leg with cast iron hinging mechanism in the knee to allow articulation,the right leg with hole in sole for placement on display floor dowel,with painted blue stockings and black one-strap shoes. The figure is wearing brown woolen coat with wide handmade cotton lace collar and cuffs,grey silk dress with lace bodice,undergarments,a lavishly feathered cap,and carries a wooden-handled black parasol. Provenance: It is generally acknowledged that the Impressionist artist,Pierre Auguste Renoir,used child mannequins as models in his studio,finding that live child models were simply too restless. The mannequin presented here is believed to be the actual model that appears as the young child with hoop in his painting,The Umbrellas,based upon the exceptional quality of sculpting (especially of the eyes) indicating its unique creation under specific directions,and upon its uncanny facial resemblance to the child in the painting. In addition,although its costume is identical to the child in the Umbrellas painting,it is also believed that the same mannequin,with different costuming,was used by Renoir in the paintings Two Sisters and Girl with a Watering Can. Equally compelling is the oral information concerning the background of the piece. It was acquired directly from Renoir in his later years by Bernard Davis,a Russian-born American who had parlayed his textile-made fortune into a collection of modern French art and who served as patron to many of those artists,in particular befriending Renoir. Later,in 1959 Davis opened his Museum of Modern Art in Miami,featuring the mannequin therein. After his death,the contents of his museum were sold and the mannequin acquired by a private collector in whose family's hands it has remained until this time. During the past 30 years the mannequin has been featured in special exhibitions of Impressionist art at the Kimball Museum in Texas and the Chrysler Museum in Virginia,among others (documents relating to these exhibits are included).
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