Tilla Durieux (Ottilie Godeffroy, 1880–1971)

Artist: Auguste Renoir (French, Limoges 1841–1919 Cagnes-sur-Mer)

Date: 1914

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 36 1/4 x 29 in. (92.1 x 73.7 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Stephen C. Clark, 1960

Accession Number: 61.101.13


In July 1914, just prior to the outbreak of World War I, the famous German actress Tilla Durieux traveled to Paris with her husband, the art dealer Paul Cassirer, to pose for Renoir. The classicizing, pyramidal format of this composition lends a certain grandeur to the sitter, attired in the costume that the couturier Poiret designed for her role as Eliza Doolittle in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion in 1913. When Renoir painted this ambitious portrait, he was so crippled with arthritis that he had to sit in a wheelchair with his brush strapped to his hand.