This Renoir Masterpiece Tells a Heartbreaking Story About Missing Children

Erased in an instant

Headshot of Tim Nudd

São Paulo, Brazil, has a government program called PLID that locates and identifies missing people. To raise awareness of this important work, agency VML interviewed the mothers of missing children—and then put those recordings over footage of one of the girls being removed from Auguste Renoir's Pink and Blue (1881), one of the world's great paintings.

Pairing this iconic artwork and these dreadfully painful stories makes for a remarkable juxtaposition, putting the personal tragedies in high relief. And the very title of the project, "The Incomplete Masterpiece," refers heartbreakingly to the family unit—so taken for granted until suddenly it collapsed.

Pink and Blue is one of the most popular works at the São Paulo Museum of Art, where it has hung since 1952. Read more about the project at Osocio.


Client: Public Ministry of the State of São Paulo

Title: "The Incomplete Masterpiece"

Agency: VML

Executive Creative Direction: Jairo Anderson and Silmo Bonomi

Creative Direction: Jairo Anderson

Copywriting: Enzo Sunahara and Mauro Mandil

Art Direction: Yumi Shimada and Gleison Stievano

Client Services: Carlos Alves and Fabio Imparato

Project Management: Joana Carmo

Executive Producer: Rodrigo Vinhaes

Video Producer: Spanda

Direction: a_dupla (Guga Ferri and Danilo Mantovani)

Art Direction: a_dupla

Executive Producer: Ana Clara Cenamo

Production Company: Camilla Hoffmann

Production Assistant: Mariana Negreiros

Client Services: Juliana Eduardo

Editing: Marco Rempel

Post-production: Cut Films

Sound Producer: Raw Audio

Image Manipulation: Pict Estúdio

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.