Impressionist pictures were often framed by dealers and collectors in ornate frames like this one, even though many of the Impressionists–especially Degas, Pissarro, Cassatt and Morisot–rejected them. A Rococo frame such as the one above, on a Degas, would have seriously annoyed the artist.
But, we would be wrong in assuming that such a frame would have met with Renoir’s disfavor. Alone among the Impressionists, Renoir valued old, carved frames–he appreciated them for their craftsmanship. The son of a tailor, and a porcelain painter himself as a boy, Renoir’s background as a member of the artisan class was unique among the Impressionists. It is therefore understandable that he had no interest in the austere framing experiments of his colleagues in the late 1870’s. He was, after all, a trained artisan, and these frames made no particular use of the craft, skill, and experience of an artisan.
Furthermore, Renoir admired 18th c. French painting, and his use of 18th c. frames may have served, for him, as a bridge between his work and the work of 18th c. masters.