Tilla Durieux (Ottilie Godeffroy, 1880–1971), 1914
August Renoir (French, 1841–1919)
Oil on canvas; 36 1/4 x 29 in. (92.1 x 73.7 cm)
Bequest of Stephen C. Clark, 1960 (61.101.13)
The famous German actress Tilla Durieux (Ottilie Godeffroy, 1880–1971) is depicted in the costume designed by Poiret that she wore in Pygmalion. In July 1914, just prior to the outbreak of World War I, she and her husband, the art dealer Paul Cassirer, traveled to Paris to pose for Renoir. When Renoir painted this ambitious portrait, with its classicizing and pyramidal format, he was so crippled with arthritis that he had to sit in a wheelchair with his brush strapped to his hand.