About This Artwork

Pierre-Auguste Renoir
French, 1841-1919

Two Sisters (On the Terrace), 1881

Oil on canvas
100.4 x 80.9 cm (39 ½ x 31 7/8 in.)
Inscribed at lower right: Renoir '81

Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection, 1933.455

Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted this delightful homage to springtime, youth, and beauty on the terrace of the Fournaise family's restaurant on the Seine River at Chatou—where, six years before, he had made Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise. The painting was already under way by April 19, 1881, when, at lunch in Chatou with the American painter James McNeill Whistler, Renoir spoke of postponing a planned trip to London: "The weather is fine and I have my models; that's my only excuse." The young woman in this painting wears the blue flannel dress favored by lady boaters at the time. She and the girl at her side were not actually related. The art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel invented the title Two Sisters when he bought the painting from Renoir in July 1881.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Paris, 7me Exposition des Impressionnistes, 1882, cat. 138.

Paris, Galeries Durand-Ruel, Exposition des oeuvres de P. A. Renoir, 1883, cat. 2.

New York, National Academy of Design, Works in Oil and Pastel by the Impressionists of Paris, 1886, cat. 181.

Paris, Galeries Durand-Ruel, Exposition A. Renoir, May 1892, cat. 92.

Paris, Galeries Durand-Ruel, Expostition de tableaux de Monet, Pissarro, Renoir & Sisley, 1899, cat. 81.

Brussels, La Libre Esthétique, Exposition des peintres Impressionnistes, 1904, cat. 130.

Paris, Salon d’Automne, October 15–November 15, 1904, cat. 12.

London, Durand-Ruel at the Grafton Galleries, A Selection from the Pictures by Boudin, Cézanne, Degas, Manet, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, 1905, cat. 239.

London, The Burlington House, 1906.

Paris, Exposition d’Art Moderne, June–July, 1912.

Kunsthaus Zürich, Französische Kunst des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts, October–November, 1917, cat. 169.

Paris, Galeries Durand-Ruel, Tableaux Pastels–Dessins par Renoir (1841-1919), November 29-December 18, 1920, cat. 52.

Munich, Heinrich Thannhauser, Moderne Galerie, Ausstellung Auguste Renoir, mid-January–mid-February, c. 1929, cat. 9

The Art Institute of Chicago, Exhibition of Mrs. L. L. Coburn Collection: Modern Paintings and Watercolors, 1932, cat. 33 (ill.).

The Art Institute of Chicago, A Century in Progress, Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, June 1–November 1, 1933, cat. 348.

The Art Institute of Chicago, A Century in Progress, Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, June 1–November 1, 1934, cat. 237.

Toledo Museum of Art, French Impressionists and Post–Impressionists, November 1934, cat. 15.

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Durand-Ruel Galleries in New York, 1887-1937, January 1937, cat. 6 (ill.).

New Haven, Conn., Yale University Gallery of Fine Arts, An Exhibition of the French Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, February–March, 1937, cat. 1.

New York, Duveen Galleries, Centennial Loan Exhibition, 1841–1941: Renoir, November–December, 1941, cat. 35 (ill.).

The Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings by Renoir, February 3–April 1, 1973, cat. 34 (ill.).

Tokyo, The Seibu Museum of Art, The Impressionist Tradition: Masterpieces from The Art Institute of Chicago, October 18–December 17, 1985, cat. 35 (ill.), traveled to Fukuoka Art Museum, January 5–February 2, 1986 and Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, March 4–April 3, 1986.

Washington, DC, The Phillips Collection, Impressionists on the Seine: A Celebration of Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1996–97, no cat. no., pl. 56.

Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, Renoir’s Portraits: Impressions of an Age, June 27, 1997–September 14, 1997, cat. 40 (ill.), traveled to The Art Institute of Chicago, October 17, 1997–January 4, 1998 and Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum, February 8–April 26, 1998.

St. Petersburg, The State Hermitage Museum, Masterpieces of the Greatest Museums of the World at the Hermitage, 2001.

Fort Worth, Tex., Kimbell Museum of Art, The Impressionists: Master Paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago, June 29–November 2, 2008, cat. 28 (ill.).

Publication History

La Fare, “L ‘Exposition des impressionnistes,” Le Gaulois (March 2, 1882), p. 2.

Henry Havard, “Exposition des artistes indépendants,” Le Siécle (March 2, 1882), p. 2.

A. Hustin, “L’Exposition des peintres indépendants,” L ‘Estaffette (March 3, 1882), p. 3.

Draner, “Une Visite aux impressionnistes,” Le Charivari (March 9, 1882).

A. Hustin, “L’Exposition des impressionnistes,” Moniteur des Arts (March 10, 1882), p. 1.

Georges Lecomte, L’Art Impressionniste, (d’ après la Collection Privée de M. Durand-Ruel) (Paris, 1892), pl. opposite p. 136.

Camille Mauclair, The Great French Painters and the Evolution of French Painting from 1830 to the Present Day (New York, 1903), pp. 112, 114 (ill.).

M. Hamel, “Le Salon d’Automne,” Les Arts 3, 35 (1904), p. 35 (ill.).

Georges Riviére, Renoir et Ses Amis (Paris, 1912), pl. opposite p. 134.

A. Arséne, “Exposition d’Art Moderne á Hotel de la Revue ‘Les Arts’,” Les Arts 11 (1912), pp. 5, 12, fig. 7.

Georges Lecomte, “L’Oeuvre de Renoir,” L’Art et les Artistes 1 (April 1919–September 1920), pp. 146, 147 (ill.).

Paul Jamot, “Renoir,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts pér. 5, vol. 8 (1923), pp. 323, 325, (ill.).

Christian Science Monitor (July 7, 1932), ill.

Ambroise Vollard, Renoir: An Intimate Record (New York, 1925), p. 240.

Royal Cortissoz, Seven Paintings by Renoir (New York, n. d.), p. 7, pl. 6.

Julius Meier-Graefe, Renoir (Leipzig, 1929), p. 142, fig. 119.

C. Carstairs, “Renoir,” Apollo 10 (July 1929), p. 36, (ill.).

Daniel Catton Rich, “The Bequest of Mrs. L. L. Coburn,” The Art Institute of Chicago Bulletin 26 (Chicago, 1932), pp. 67, 68 (ill.).

Albert C. Barnes and Violette de Mazia, The Art of Renoir (New York, 1935), pp. 270, (ill.), 405, 406, (no. 119).

Henry McBride, “The Renoirs of America: An Appreciation of the Metropolitan Museum’s Exhibition,” Art News 35 (May 1937), pp. 60, 73 (ill.).

Charles Terrasse, Cinquante Portraits de Renoir (Paris, 1941), pl. 22.

Daniel Catton Rich, “The Exhibition of French Art,” The Art Institute of Chicago, Formes 33 (193_), ill. preceding p. 383.

Art News 51, 4 (1952), p. 54.

The Art Institute of Chicago, A Brief Guide to the Collections (Chicago, 1956), p. 34.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Picture Collection (Chicago, 1961), pp. 396-397, 283 (ill.).

Frederick A. Sweet, “Great Chicago Collectors,” Apollo 84 (September, 1966), p. 203.

The WFMT Guide, November 1966, ill.

John Maxon, The Art Institute of Chicago (New York, 1970), pp. 87 (ill.), 285.

François Daulte, Auguste Renoir: Catalogue raisonné, vol. 1 (Lausanne, 1971), no. 378 (ill.).

Calendar of The Art Institute of Chicago 66, 2 (March 1972), p. 7 (ill.).

The Art Institute of Chicago, 100 Masterpieces (Chicago, 1978), no. 58 (ill.).

Richard Brettell, French Impressionists (Chicago, 1987), p. 260 (ill.).

Diane Kelder, The Great Book of Impressionism (New York, 1986), ill.

Sophie Monneret, Renoir (Paris, 1989), p. 153, fig. 15.

Rachel Barnes, ed., Renoir by Renoir (Exeter, Devon, 1990), pp. 40-41 (ill.).

Lesely Stevenson, Renoir (London, 1991), pp. 107–06 (ill.).

David Bomford et al., Art in the Making: Impressionism, exh. cat. (London, National Gallery, 1990–91), p. 191, pl. 20.

Anne Distel, Renoir ‘Il faut embellir’ (Paris, 1993), p. 77 (ill.).

Christie’s, New York, Impressionist and Modern Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture (Part I), May 11, 1995, under lot 112, fig. 1.

The Age of Impressionism at the Art Institute of Chicago (New Haven and London, 2008), cat. 28, pp. 74-75 (ill.).

Colin B. Bailey, “The Greatest Luminosity, Colour, and Harmony,” Renoir Landscapes 1865-1883, ed. Colin B. Bailey and Christopher Riopelle, Exh. cat. (National Gallery Company Limited), p. 65, p. 70, p. 212, p. 214, fig. 102.

Ownership History

Bought from the artist by Durand-Ruel, Paris on July 7, 1881 for 1,500 francs [according to Daulte 1971]. Charles Ephrussi (1849–1905), 1883 [see Paris 1883]. Durand-Ruel family, Paris by 1892 [according to Ottawa 1997; see also Paris 1892]; Joseph Durand-Ruel, New York; sold to Mrs. Lewis (Annie S.) Coburn (died 1932), Chicago on February 4, 1925 for $100,000 [Durand-Ruel stock no. 1214, see Registrar archival card, copy in curatorial file]; bequeathed to the Art Institute, 1933.




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