Lot 419
  • 419


300,000 - 500,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • Gabrielle
  • Signed Renoir and bears signature Renoir (lower right)
  • Pastel on paper
  • 21 7/8 by 18 1/4 in.
  • 55.4 by 46.3 cm
  • Executed circa 1890.


Ambroise Vollard, Paris
Galerie Paul Pétridès, Paris
Private Collection, United States (and sold: Christie's, New York, October 18, 1977, lot 14)
Acquired at the above sale


Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1974-76 (on loan)


Ambroise Vollard, Tableaux, pastels et dessins de Pierre-Auguste Renoir, vol. II, Paris, 1918, illustrated p. 32
Guy-Patrice & Michel Dauberville, Renoir, Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles1882-1894, vol. III, Paris, 2007, no. 2522, illustrated p. 478

Catalogue Note

Portraiture was the dominant form of Renoir’s oeuvre during the first few of decades of his career. In the 1860s and 1870s he accepted numerous paid commissions as he sought to establish himself as an artist, yet this most traditional of genres was also the means through which he began to develop his distinctive artistic idiom. As Colin Bailey writes, "Whereas the pose and presentation of Renoir’s sitters might be conservative or appropriated, the paintings themselves look nothing like the conventional portraiture of the last decade of the Second Empire and the early Third Republic. What distinguishes them from those of Renoir’s Salon contemporaries is the extraordinary light with which they are imbued" (Colin Bailey, Renoir’s Portraits: Impressions of an Age (exhibition catalogue), National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1997, p. 21).

Gabrielle Renard, the subject of the present work, was Renoir's housemaid and governess to his children in addition to being one of the artist's most celebrated and important sitters. The artist began featuring her in several group portraits with his sons Coco and Jean at the turn of the century (see fig. 1). This work is an early depiction of Gabrielle which captures Renoir's burgeoning sense of intimacy and adoration for his subject. As her relationship with the family became more familiar, she began posing for Renoir in the nude. Gabrielle left the Renoir household in 1914, shortly before she was to marry the painter Conrad Slade. It has been suggested that her departure was at the behest of Madame Renoir, who was jealous of her husband's attention to Gabrielle, evidenced by the numerous depictions of her that he completed throughout her employment.  

This work will be included in the forthcoming Renoir Digital Catalogue Raisonné, currently being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc.