In 1876, Renoir began to paint anecdotal depictions of women and children, subjects in which he excelled. A Girl with a Watering Can, typical of these works, displays a mature impressionist style attuned to the specific requirements of figure painting. Renoir's colors reflect the freshness and radiance of the impressionist palette, while his handling is more controlled and regular than in his landscapes, with even brushstrokes applied in delicate touches, especially in the girl’s face. Brilliant prismatic hues envelop the child in an atmosphere of warm light and charmingly convey her innocent appeal.
Specific identifications have been proposed for the girl, but none is convincing. More likely, Renoir depicted a neighborhood child whose pretty features pleased him. A girl with similar curly blond hair, sparkling blue eyes, plump pink cheeks, and smiling red lips appears, dressed the same way in other paintings by Renoir, suggesting she was a favorite figure in the artist’s repertory. A Girl with a Watering Can is a showcase of the grace and charm of the artist's work.
lower right: Renoir. 76.
Marks and Labels
Possibly commissioned c. 1876 for the Sellière Collection, Paris; by inheritance to Comte Batthiany by 1898; Alexandre Rosenberg, Paris. Possibly Paul Bérard [1830-1905], Paris.  Alexandre Berthier [1883-1918], 4th Prince de Wagram; sold probably by his heirs though (Canadeesche Hypothek Bank) through (Étienne Bignou, Paris) to (Alex Reid & Lefèvre, London); on joint account with (M. Knoedler & Co., London, New York and Paris) and (Marcel Kapferer); sold 1931 through (Galerie Étienne Bignou, Paris) to Chester Dale [1882-1962], New York; bequest 1963 to NGA.
- Possibly IX esposizione internazionale d’arte della città di Venezia, Venice, 1910, no. 7, as Ragazzina con inaffiatoio.
- The Classical Period of Renoir, M. Knoedler & Co., New York, November 1929, no. II
- Renoir and the Post-Impressionists, Alex. Reid & Lefevre, London, June-July 1930, no. 1.
- Vincent van Gogh en zijn Tijdgenooten, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1930, no. 258.
- Renoir and His Tradition, Museum of French Art, New York, 1931, no.13.
- The Chester Dale Bequest, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1965, unnumbered checklist.
- From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, January 2010-January 2012, unnumbered catalogue, repro.
- Vollard, Ambroise. Tableaux, Pastels & Dessins de Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Paris, 1918:89, repro.
- "Renoir and His Tradition." New York Sun (28 November 1931):
- Wilenski, R.H. French Painting. Boston, 1931: 267, repro pl. 103.
- Barnes, Albert C. and Violette de Mazia. The Art of Renoir. New York, 1935: 58n, 64, 68n, 447 no. 56.
- Bertram, Anthony. August Renoir. London, 1935: repro. plate VII.
- McBride, Henry. "The Renoirs in America: In Appreciation of the Metropolitan Museum's Exhibition," Art News 35, no. 31 (1 May 1937):60, repro.
- Catalogue of French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 13, repro. pl. XXIV
- "Art News Series of Masterpieces in American Museums, no. 5: Chester Dale Collection." Art News (15 May 1942): repro. cover.
- Dale, Chester. "The Golden Century of French Art." The New York Times Magazine 17 May 1942: 20, repro.
- French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 62, repro.
- Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds., Masterpieces of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1944: 170, color repro.
- French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1944: 62, repro.
- Jewell, Edward Alden. French Impressionists and their Contemporaries Represented in American Collections. New York, 1944: repro. 124.
- Butterfield, Roger. "The Millionaires' Best Friend." Saturday Evening Post (8 March 1947): 31, repro.
- Leclerc, André. Renoir. New York, 1948: repro. 14, 18.
- Walker, John. "Pierre-August Renoir." Ladies Home Journal (June 1948):
- King, Marian. Portfolio Number 3. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1951: no. 12, color repro.
- Gaunt, William. Renoir. London, 1952: plate 30.
- Berr de Turique, Marcelle. Renoir. Paris, c. 1953: repro. plate 30.
- French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1953: 72, repro.
- King, Marian. A Gallery of Children: Portraits from the National Gallery of Art. Philadelphia and New York, 1955:40, repro. 41.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1956: 54, color repro.
- Fox, Milton. A Gallery of Portraits by Renoir. New York, 1957: 3, repro.
- Evans, Grose. French Painting of the 19th Century in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1959 (Booklet Number Two in Ten Schools of Painting in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.): 42, color repro. on cover.
- The National Gallery of Art and Its Collections. Foreword by Perry B. Cott and notes by Otto Stelzer. National Gallery of Art, Washington (undated, 1960s): 25, color repro. 16.
- Fosca, François. Renoir, His Life and Work. London, 1961: repro. 49.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 260, repro.
- Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Paintings & Sculpture of the French School in the Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 109, repro.
- Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 113
- Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 2:444, color repro.
- European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 100, repro.
- Renior. Paris, Réalités Hachette, 1970: 179, repro. 178.
- Daulte, Francois. Auguste Renoir, catalogue raisonne de l'oeuvre peint. Vol.I. Figures 1860-1890. Lausanne, 1971: no.177
- Fezzi, Elda. L'opera completa di Renoir nel period impressionista. Milan, 1972:99 no. 228, color repro plate XXX.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 294, repro.
- Gaunt, William. Renoir. Oxford, 1976: repro. 14.
- Lefevre Gallery. Alex. Reid & Lefevre 1926-1976. Intro by Douglas Cooper. London, 1976: 62, repro.
- King, Marian. Adventures in Art: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1978: 88, pl. 53.
- Watson, Ross. The National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1979: 113, pl. 100.
- Gaunt, William. Renoir. 3rd. ed. Oxford, 1982: repro. 27.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 460, no. 667, color repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 339, repro.
- Southgate, M. Therese. "The Cover." Journal of the American Medical Association (10 June 1988): cover, 3220, color repro.
- Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 239-240, 242, color repro.
- National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 195, repro.
- Distel, Anne. Renoir A Sensuous Vision. New York, 1995: 50-51, repro.
- Boardingham, Robert J. Impressionist Masterpieces in American Museums. New York, 1996: repro.
- Kelder, Diane. The Great Book of French Impressionism, 1997, no. 229, repro.
- Zuffi, Stefano and Francesca Castira. La peinture moderne des impressionnistes aux avant-gardes. Paris, 1998: 121, repro.
- Southgate, M. Therese. The Art of JAMA II: Covers and Essays from The Journal of the American Medical Association. Chicago, 2001: 10-11, color repro.
- Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 381, no. 316, color repro.
- Dauberville, Guy-Patrice, and Michel Dauberville. Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles. 5 vols. Paris, 2007: 1:no. 498.
- Kennicott, Philip. "French Rooms Reopen, With Different Accents." Washington Post 135, no. 55 (January 29, 2012): E25.
Work of Art
Work of Art
- Event Name
- March 1–June 1
- Mon, Tues, and Wed at 1:00
- March 5, 2012 at 2:00
March 7, 2012 at 4:00
- East Building, Auditorium
- Name of docent
- 60 minutes
- Registration for this event begins on April 1, 2012 at noon.
- Download the program notes (100k)
- Italian Collection