Overview

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.

Inscription

lower right: Renoir. 76.

Marks and Labels

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Provenance

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. [1] 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; [2]bequest 1963 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1910
Possibly IX esposizione internazionale d’arte della città di Venezia, Venice, 1910, no. 7, as Ragazzina con inaffiatoio.
1929
The Classical Period of Renoir, M. Knoedler & Co., New York, November 1929, no. II
1930
Renoir and the Post-Impressionists, Alex. Reid & Lefevre, London, June-July 1930, no. 1.
1930
Vincent van Gogh en zijn Tijdgenooten, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1930, no. 258.
1931
Renoir and His Tradition, Museum of French Art, New York, 1931, no.13.
1965
The Chester Dale Bequest, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1965, unnumbered checklist.
2010
From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, January 2010-January 2012, unnumbered catalogue, repro.

Bibliography

1918
Vollard, Ambroise. Tableaux, Pastels & Dessins de Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Paris, 1918:89, repro.
1931
"Renoir and His Tradition." New York Sun (28 November 1931):
1931
Wilenski, R.H. French Painting. Boston, 1931: 267, repro pl. 103.
1935
Barnes, Albert C. and Violette de Mazia. The Art of Renoir. New York, 1935: 58n, 64, 68n, 447 no. 56.
1935
Bertram, Anthony. August Renoir. London, 1935: repro. plate VII.
1937
McBride, Henry. "The Renoirs in America: In Appreciation of the Metropolitan Museum's Exhibition," Art News 35, no. 31 (1 May 1937):60, repro.
1941
Catalogue of French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 13, repro. pl. XXIV
1942
"Art News Series of Masterpieces in American Museums, no. 5: Chester Dale Collection." Art News (15 May 1942): repro. cover.
1942
French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 62, repro.
1944
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds., Masterpieces of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1944: 170, color repro.
1944
French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1944: 62, repro.
1944
Jewell, Edward Alden. French Impressionists and their Contemporaries Represented in American Collections. New York, 1944: repro. 124.
1947
Butterfield, Roger. "The Millionaires' Best Friend." Saturday Evening Post (8 March 1947): 31, repro.
1948
Leclerc, André. Renoir. New York, 1948: repro. 14, 18.
1948
Walker, John. "Pierre-August Renoir." Ladies Home Journal (June 1948):
1951
King, Marian. Portfolio Number 3. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1951: no. 12, color repro.
1952
Gaunt, William. Renoir. London, 1952: plate 30.
1953
Berr de Turique, Marcelle. Renoir. Paris, c. 1953: repro. plate 30.
1953
French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1953: 72, repro.
1955
King, Marian. A Gallery of Children: Portraits from the National Gallery of Art. Philadelphia and New York, 1955:40, repro. 41.
1956
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1956: 54, color repro.
1957
Fox, Milton. A Gallery of Portraits by Renoir. New York, 1957: 3, repro.
1959
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.
1960
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.
1961
Fosca, François. Renoir, His Life and Work. London, 1961: repro. 49.
1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 260, repro.
1965
Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Paintings & Sculpture of the French School in the Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 109, repro.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 113
1966
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.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 100, repro.
1970
Renior. Paris, Réalités Hachette, 1970: 179, repro. 178.
1971
Daulte, Francois. Auguste Renoir, catalogue raisonne de l'oeuvre peint. Vol.I. Figures 1860-1890. Lausanne, 1971: no.177
1972
Fezzi, Elda. L'opera completa di Renoir nel period impressionista. Milan, 1972:99 no. 228, color repro plate XXX.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 294, repro.
1976
Gaunt, William. Renoir. Oxford, 1976: repro. 14.
1976
Lefevre Gallery. Alex. Reid & Lefevre 1926-1976. Intro by Douglas Cooper. London, 1976: 62, repro.
1978
King, Marian. Adventures in Art: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1978: 88, pl. 53.
1979
Watson, Ross. National Gallery of Art. London, 1979: 113, pl. 100, color repro.
1982
Gaunt, William. Renoir. 3rd. ed. Oxford, 1982: repro. 27.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 460, no. 667, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 339, repro.
1988
Southgate, M. Therese. "The Cover." Journal of the American Medical Association (10 June 1988): cover, 3220, color repro.
1991
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 239-240, 242, color repro.
1992
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 195, repro.
1995
Distel, Anne. Renoir A Sensuous Vision. New York, 1995: 50-51, repro.
1996
Boardingham, Robert J. Impressionist Masterpieces in American Museums. New York, 1996: repro.
1997
Kelder, Diane. The Great Book of French Impressionism, 1997, no. 229, repro.
1998
Zuffi, Stefano and Francesca Castira. La peinture moderne des impressionnistes aux avant-gardes. Paris, 1998: 121, repro.
2001
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.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 381, no. 316, color repro.
2007
Dauberville, Guy-Patrice and Michel. Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles 1858-1881. Paris, 2007: 1: no. 498
2012
Kennicott, Philip. "French Rooms Reopen, With Different Accents." Washington Post 135, no. 55 (January 29, 2012): E25.

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