Lot 118
  • 118

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

700,000 - 1,000,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • Signed Renoir (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 19 by 15 3/8 in.
  • 48.4 by 39.1 cm


Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired directly from the artist on June 1, 1915)
Durand-Ruel, New York (acquired from the above on March 27, 1916)
Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the above on April 21, 1916)
Valentine Gallery, Paris (acquired from the above on December 7, 1943)
Bequest of Edward D. Mitchell in 1989


New York, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paintings by Renoir, 1918, no. 19
(Possibly) Rovereto, Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Impressionists and Post-Impressionists: Masterpieces from the Israel Museum of Jerusalem, 2008-09


Stephanie Rachum, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Painting and Sculpture in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2006, no. 21

Catalogue Note

Buste de Femme, Chapeau de Paille Garni exemplifies the warm palette and spontaneous brushwork that defined much of Renoir's mature work.  As the leading portraitist of the Impressionist painters, Renoir received a great number of commissions during the 1880s and 1890s which enabled him to develop the legendary style for which he is known. The models for these portraits were often his wife, Aline, and his children's nursemaid, Gabrielle Renard, but he would also paint other less recognizable members of his circle, often fashioning them with a prominent accessory.  In the present work, Renoir depicts one of his sitters wearing a hat that is enlivened with a bright floral garland.  "When he paints a portrait," Edmond Renoir wrote of the artist, "he asks his model to behave normally, to sit as she usually sits, to dress as she usually dresses, so that nothing smacks of constraint or artificial preparation" (quoted in Colin B. Bailey, "Portrait of the Artist as a Portrait Painter," in Renoir's Portraits, Impressionist of an Age, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; The Art Institute of Chicago and Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth (exhibition catalogue), 1997, p. 20).

The present work belongs to a series of oils that Renoir completed starting in the early 1890s of young women wearing elaborately decorated hats.  Renoir's particular interest in hats was well-known.  Suzanne Valadon, who served as a model for some of these compositions, claimed that the artist had these floral headpieces specially made for his models, and they were commonly seen laying about his studio (fig. 1).  Onne of his favorite models of this period, Gabrielle, was portrayed repeatedly in these elaborate hats (see fig 2)  and her oft-captured beauty may have inspired the present work.  Albert André remembered entering one of Renoir's studios, and seeing this colorful sight: "His studios, whether in Paris or in the country, are empty of any furniture that might encourage visitors to stay for long.  A broken down divan, covered in clothes and old flowered hats for his models; a few chairs that are always cluttered with canvases" (Albert André, Renoir, 1919, reprinted in Renoir, A Retrospective, New York, 1987, p. 262).

Colin B. Bailey has written about the history of Renoir's pictures of women, outlining the styles that governed many of these works throughout the artist's life, "Narrowly defined, portraiture occupied Renoir at all stages of his early and middle career--from the dour and respectable effigies of family members painted in the 1860s, often surprisingly Victorian in feeling, to the extravagantly brushed canvases of the Impressionist decade, to the more solidly modelled, but no less brightly colored, transitional works of the mid-1880s. During the last thirty years of his life, Renoir returned to the genre intermittently.  In old age, his forms become more ample and his colors more generalized, but the artist touches new depths of affection and tenderness, and is capable of unexpected humor and wit" (ibid., p.3).

Fig. 1 One of the model's hats in Renoir's studio.  Photograph by Nicholas Wadley.

Fig. 2 Photograph of Gabrielle Renard, Private Collection, Essoyes