Between 1913 and 1918, Renoir, now old and his hands deformed by arthritis, let himself be persuaded by his dealer, Ambroise Vollard, to "give some advice to a talented young sculptor who would produce something based on [his] paintings." Richard Guino was chosen, a 23 year old Catalan artist living in Paris
For obvious commercial reasons, Vollard subsequently sought to minimise Guino’s role. However, a judgment handed down in 1971 recognised Guino as co-creator of the works because, more than simply working as a technician, he regularly worked independently.
Nevertheless, for the first work in this collaboration, the small model of the Venus Victrix, it appears that Guino had worked under the watchful eye of the master, who might even have modified the head of the preparatory sketch himself.
The subject was taken from the painting of The Judgment of Paris, the second version of which Renoir had just finished (Hiroshima Museum of Art). The Renoir-Guino sculpture cannot however be regarded as a simple transposition: in the sculpted work, the goddess is already holding the apple given by Paris in one hand, and in the other, a flowing drapery that is absent from the painting.
Furthermore, the three dimensional transcription required changes from the small version. Renoir "made the belly and hips heavier, lifted the breasts and thus obtained a small solid stocky woman, all flesh, a small woman-animal with an exceptionally long body." (Paul Haesaerts).
For the large version, Renoir subsequently provided the sculptor with drawings indicating new changes, involving in particular the proportions, the facial expression and the movement of the drapery.
By making a large-scale version of the sculpture, Renoir was aware that his work would be compared to the large Venuses of Greco-Roman art. But although those models served as a benchmark for this iconic work of the classic "return to order" that characterised Renoir’s art at the end of his life, he did not adopt the anatomical perfection of the ancient figures.
He also took his inspiration from artists of his time: with her calm, traditional pose, and ample volumes, the Venus Victrix clearly echoes Maillol’s Pomona (1910) and Summer (1911).