Writing of Renoir’s last masterpiece Les Baigneuses, which reflects the artist’s delight in painting this young model, John House comments: “According to Albert André, the beauty of this 'superb redhead' was the incentive he needed to undertake his last paintings” (John House in Renoir (exhibition catalogue), Hayward Gallery, London; Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris & Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1985-86, p. 288). Femme à corsage à rayures jaune et rouge écrivant ultimately stands as a testament to Renoir’s superlative ability to capture youth in its prime.
The present work was with legendary dealer Paul Rosenberg until it was placed, along with 161 others, in a vault near Bordeaux for protection from air raids after the occupation of France in June 1940. Within a year, the vault was discovered and the Einsatzstab Reichleiter Rosenberg (ERR) seized its contents and moved them to the Jeu de Paume to await their next destination. Gustav Rochlitz, a dealer active in France described as a "chief participant in exchanges of paintings confiscated by the ERR," acquired this work through an exchange with the ERR in 1942 (ALIU intelligence list, WWII OSS Art Looting Investigation Reports, Final Report, p. 67). However, rather than transferring to the Göring collection as originally intended, this particular work was instead kept by Rochtlitz and stored at his private depot in Muhlofen-Meersburg until it was reclaimed by the Allies at the end of the war. Within a year of the war's end the painting returned to Paul Rosenberg, its rightful owner.
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