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Literature regarding this artwork: Roger Passeron, Impressionist Prints, The Wellfleet Press, Secacus, New Jersey, 1974, p. 129 (ill.).
Mademoiselle Dieterle was an actress who was particularly attractive to Renoir. He used her as his model for a number of drawings and pastels produced at the same time as this lithograph.
Some writers consider this the most beautiful of all Renoir’s prints and the rarest of his large lithographs. Unlike the versions of “Le chapeau épinglé,” for example, which were printed with the assistance of Auguste Clot in editions of 200 or more, this lithograph was issued in an edition of only 100 for the very important and extremely rare album Germinal. The album was comprised of twenty graphic works, including original graphic works by Pierre Bonnard, Mauirice Denis, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Felix Vallotton and Edouard Vuillard, with facsimiles of works by Vincent van Gogh and Edgar Degas and a preface by Gustave Geffroy.
In many ways Renoir was at his finest while working in black and white lithography for his understanding of tone and light gave him a brilliant insight into the possibilities of the medium. In this lithograph he used an inspired combination of very soft, almost transparent washes, varying from the palest grey to a gentle black, overworked with tusche to create accent. The result is a quality of glowing light and modeling of the greatest sensitivity and beauty. The changing balance of the shadow in the background from left to right, and the movement into the highlight of her face and neck echoes his use of color in his oils of the late 1890’s. It is expressed, however, in a way which underlines his real sympathy and understanding of the visual effects which are only possible in lithography.