- Pierre-Auguste Renoir
- JEUNE FEMME À LA CRAVATE NOIRE
- signed Renoir (lower left)
- oil on canvas
- 44.5 by 36.7cm.
- 17 1/2 by 14 1/2 in.
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owners in 1925
Paris, Galerie Schmit, Portraits français XIXe et XXe siècles, 1974, no. 49, illustrated in colour in the catalogue (titled Jeune fille blonde de profil and as dating from circa 1907)
Painted around 1897-98, Jeune femme à la cravate noire depicts a young girl in profile, shown against a neutral setting, her pose and dress suggesting that she sat for the painter. By the time he executed the present work, Renoir was a well established artist, who no longer had a financial need to paint commissioned portraits, and was able to focus on more intimate depictions of his friends and family members. Despite the girl's formal appearance in this work, the artist's focus on her face and his omission of any descriptive details of her surroundings create a relatively intimate atmosphere.
Although the identity of the sitter has not been firmly identified, the girl in the present work certainly bears a strong resemblance to Gabrielle Renard (1878-1959), Renoir's housemaid and governess to his children, who at the turn of the century became his most frequent model. At first, the artist featured her in several group portraits with his sons Jean and Coco, but as her relationship with the artist became closer, Gabrielle began posing for Renoir in the nude. A distant relative of the artist's wife Aline, she joined the Renoir household in 1894, shortly before the birth of Jean in September of that year, and left in 1914, around the time she was to marry the American painter Conrad Slade. Her departure was partly influenced by the deteriorating relationship between Gabrielle and Madame Renoir, who objected to the artist's increasing attention towards his young model.