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Pierre-August Renoir - Chapeau au ruban rouge (deux jeunes filles)

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Chapeau au ruban rouge (deux jeunes filles)

Oil on canvas: 13(h) x 10(w) in / 33(h) x 25.4(w) cm
Signed upper left: Renoir

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Limoges 1841 - 1919 Cagnes

Ref: CL 3564


Chapeau au ruban rouge (deux jeunes filles)


Signed upper left: Renoir

Oil on canvas: 13 x 10 in / 33 x 25.4 cm

Frame size: 20 x 16 ¾ in / 50.8 x 42.5 cm

Painted circa 1895





Sotheby’s London, 4th July 1962, lot

Wally Findlay Galleries, Inc., Chicago;

The Estate of Joan B Kroc, acquired from the above in 1972

Richard Green, London, 2006;

Private collection, USA;

Richard Green, London, 2007;

Corporate collection, USA;

Richard Green, London, 2015;

Private collection



Guy-Patrice and Michel Dauberville, Renoir: Catalogue Raisonné des Tableaux, Pastels, Dessins et Aquarelles, vol. III, 1882-1894, Paris 2010, p.200, no.2050, illus.


To be included in the forthcoming catalogue critique of the work of Pierre-Auguste Renoir being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute from the François Daulte, Durand-Ruel, Venturi, Vollard and Wildenstein archives



‘Renoir loved painting beautiful human beings. That is why his portraits of children are so moving.   He had the art of gathering children around him. The difficulty of making them remain still did not deter him. He was so agile with his brushes that he immediately captured their pose’[1]. Chapeau au ruban rouge depicts one of Renoir’s favourite subjects; during the 1890s he painted a number of formal and informal portraits of children which often showed young girls wearing hats. Always captivated by the beauties of nature, he particularly enjoyed capturing the essence of youth, observing children from different angles, fascinated by their chubby flesh and rosy complexions. 


One of the sitters of this painting is probably Gabrielle Renard, a distant cousin of Renoir’s wife, who joined the household around 1895 to help with the family. She stayed for nearly twenty years and became one of the artist’s favourite models. Chapeau au ruban rouge displays the fluency and shimmering brushwork which Renoir employed in the 1890s, using rivulets of colour to mould the forms of the two young girls. The white dress and hat of the foreground girl emphasize her youthful freshness, while her vivid red ribbon, adjacent to the red ribbon being fixed in the hair of the second child, creates a bond between them. A ripple of gold moves diagonally across the canvas, from the bright flower at upper right, to the blonde highlights in the hair of the right-hand girl, to the red-gold, luxurious tresses of her companion.


Renoir delighted in the lavish ‘picture hats’ of fin-de-siècle French fashion; a similar white hat appears in Two girls with hats, circa 1890, in the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia. He kept hats and other elements of costume in his studio for his models to use. His biographer, the painter Albert André, described Renoir’s ateliers: ‘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’[2].

Julie Manet, the niece of Edouard Manet and daughter of Berthe Morisot, often visited Renoir’s studio as a girl and confided to her diary: ‘He thought my hat was very pretty, which pleased me as I never buy a hat without wondering whether M. Renoir will like it’[3].






Two girls with hats, circa 1890.

Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Limoges 1841 - 1919 Cagnes



Pierre-August Renoir, one of the best loved of the Impressionists, always painted the beauties of nature: harmonious landscapes, flowers, fruit, children and women. He began his career at the age of thirteen as a painter on porcelain in a factory in Paris. He soon gave this up in favour of painting fans and decorating blinds, which he did until 1862, when he had saved enough money to support his ambition to study art. He enrolled in classes at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and in 1864 had his first painting accepted at the Paris Salon.


During this period Renoir also studied in the atelier of Charles Gleyre, where he became friends with Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille.  In 1863 Manet’s Déjeuner sur l'Herbe caused uproar at the Salon des Refusés and made a deep impression on the group of young painters. They began to go on expeditions to the Forest of Fontainebleau to paint en plein air and started to develop a palette and style of painting that formed the foundation of Impressionism. In 1869 Renoir worked alongside Claude Monet at La Grenouillière on the Seine, producing what are considered to be the first landscapes painted in the Impressionist style. 


Although Renoir continued to submit his works to the Salon throughout the early 1870s, he also continued to explore his new approach to light and colour and to forge strong links with other like-minded artists such as Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and Edgar Degas. By 1874 the group was so disaffected by the constraints placed upon them by the Salon jury that they decided to mount their own exhibition which challenged the accepted tradition of official art exhibitions. In April 1874 the group held the first of the Impressionist exhibitions.


This group of artists exhibited eight times between 1874 and 1886 and Renoir participated on four occasions. In 1878 his painting Madame Charpentier and her children (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) was accepted at the Salon. The painting was critically well received and Renoir finally began to sell his paintings; for the first time he experienced a degree of financial security. As Renoir’s popularity grew he travelled more and gradually began to adopt a different approach to his art. The Impressionists were suffering from internal disputes which led Renoir to disassociate himself from them; consequently he did not take part in the eighth and final show in 1886.


Throughout the rest of his life Renoir’s work continued to develop. He visited the South of France, Italy and North Africa, where he painted dramatic, highly-coloured landscapes. He eventually married his companion Aline Charigot and as his family grew he experienced a new contentment. In 1907, suffering from ill health, he purchased a property in Cagnes-sur-Mer near Nice on the Côte d’Azur where he settled with his family and painted until his death in 1919.  


[1] Michael Robida, Renoir et les enfants, Lausanne 1959.

[2] Albert André, Renoir, 1919, reprinted in Renoir, A Retrospective, New York 1987, p.262.


[3] Growing up with the Impressionists: the Diary of Julie Manet, translated by Rosalind de Boland Roberts, London 1987, p.124, diary entry for Saturday 8th January 1898.

Other Works By
Pierre-Auguste Renoir:

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Coco au ruban rose Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Paysage, allée de ferme avec femme en rouge et blanc Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Roses dans un vase vert