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Albert Cahen d'Anvers by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Albert Cahen d'Anvers, 1881

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Renoir depicted the self-assured composer Albert Cahen d'Anvers nonchalantly smoking a cigarette at a friend's home. Traditionally, portraits of men were somber, but this one breaks the mold. D’Anvers looks affable, relaxed and confident. At the time, facial hair was thought to be a powerful indicator of male sexuality — Renoir shows Cahen d'Anvers' curled mustache and ruffled red hair echoing the wallpaper's curves. His elegant cigarette holder and the cravat worn around his neck suggest authority and status, but his alert blue eyes make you wish you could engage him in conversation.

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