Lot 334
  • 334

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

500,000 - 700,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • La Danse, √Čtude pour Le Moulin de la Galette
  • Signed Renoir. (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 17 7/8 by 10 3/4 in.
  • 45.4 by 27.3 cm


Ambroise Vollard, Paris
Paul Rosenberg, New York (acquired from the above in June 1951)
Robert von Hirsch, Basel (acquired from the above in November 1951 and sold: Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London, June 26-27, 1978, lot 719)
Acquired at the above sale


Frankfurt, Städtische Galerie, Städelschen Kunstinstitut; Zurich, Kunsthaus & London, Royal Academy of Arts, Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Robert von Hirsch, 1978, no. 142


François Daulte, Auguste Renoir, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint. Figures 1860-1890, Lausanne, 1971, no. 205, illustrated n.p.
Elda Fezzi, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Renoir période impressionniste 1869-1883, Paris, 1985, no. 242, illustrated p. 99
Guy-Patrice & Michel Dauberville, Renoir, Catalogue raisonné de tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, vol. I, Paris, 2007, no. 268, illustrated p. 317


The canvas is lined. UV examination reveals an area of retouching to the bottom of the woman's skirt. Some original pigments also fluorescence. Some light frame rubbing to the extreme upper edge, not visible when framed. This work is in overall good condition.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

The present work is a study for one of Renoir’s most famous compositions, Le Moulin de la Galette (see fig. 1). In September 1873 the artist moved from a studio at 34, rue Notre Dame des Champs to larger quarters at 35, rue St. Georges at the foot of Montmartre. Among the most popular haunts on the Butte was the dancehall known as the Moulin de la Galette, and in May 1876 Renoir conceived the idea of painting a large composition based on the activities of a typical afternoon there. Throughout the project he was assisted by his close friend Georges Rivière who, although working in the Ministry of Finance, found the time to actively support his friend in the latter part of the 1870s and, moreover, documented the creation of Le Moulin de la Galette in his book Renoir et ses amis. Renoir and Rivère found a studio within walking distance of the dancehall and it was between this location and the Moulin de la Galette that Renoir would paint his two large canvases of this famed scene.

As George Rivière writes, “The Moulin was the normal gathering-place for the working class families of Montmartre. Parents and young children seated themselves at tables, eating pancakes and drinking wine or beer, while the young girls danced wildly, right until dinnertime… The normal crowd of the Moulin consisted for the most part of workers living in the neighborhood, various artists from Montmartre and some students. The young man who came to the dance-hall being always the same, everybody more or less knew everybody else and a certain camaraderie developed between them. The composition of the crowd gave the Moulin an entirely different character from the others located on the outskirts. One never saw there, for example, those rough characters who had invaded the other dance-halls of Montmartre” (Georges Rivière, Renoir et ses amis, Paris, 1921. p. 123, translated from the French). Many of the identities of those in the painting are known, including the two figures in the present work. Also recognizable in the large-scale paintings as the couple in the middle distance on the left, they are Margot (Marguerite Legrand) and the Cuban painter Don Pedro Vidal de Solares y Cardenas. Apparently the exuberant Margot found Solares too stiff and attempted to loosen him up by shaking him, dancing a polka and singing songs. The present work is one of surprisingly few preliminary studies for Le Moulin de la Galette; this can be compared to Renoir’s working methods in later years when he is known to have executed dozens of studies for his larger compositions, such as Les Grandes Baigneuses of 1887 (Philadelphia Museum of Art). Le Moulin de la Galette was acquired by Gustave Caillebotte and bequeathed on his death to the French State, where it now resides as a cornerstone of the collection of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.