About This Artwork

Pierre-Auguste Renoir
French, 1841-1919

Woman at the Piano, 1875/76

Oil on canvas
93 x 74 cm (36 9/16 x 29 1/8 in.)
Inscribed at lower left: Renoir

Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1937.1025

It was in the mid-19th century that the piano became the most popular instrument for domestic music making. By the time Pierre-Auguste Renoir made this painting, the upright piano in particular had become an almost indispensable accoutrement of the bourgeois home. Judging from her casual robe d’intérieur, a confection of white diaphanous fabric over a bluish underdress, Renoir’s young Parisienne is playing for herself or her family, rather than for a formal audience. The artist showed this work at the 1876 Impressionist exhibition, along with Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise, also on view in this gallery.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Paris, 2me Exposition des Impressionnistes, 1876, cat. 219.

London, Durand-Ruel at the Dowdewell’s Galleries, 1883, cat. 13.

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, November-December, 1908, cat. 5.

Chicago University, Renaissance Society, Some Modern Primitives, An International Exhibition of Paintings and Prints, Summer, 1931, cat. 73.

The Art Institute of Chicago, A Century in Progress, Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, June 1–November 1, 1933, cat. 337 (ill.).

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Manet and Renoir, November 1933–January 1934, no cat. no.

The Art Institute of Chicago, A Century in Progress, Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, June 1–November 1, 1934, cat. 226.

Toledo Museum of Art, French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, 1934, cat. 16.

Toledo Museum of Art, Paintings by French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, November 7–December 12, 1937, cat. 24.

New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Renoir: A Special Exhibition of His Paintings, May-September 1937, cat. 27 (ill.).

San Diego, Fine Arts Gallery, Exhibition, October 1940.

San Francisco, California, Golden Gate Exhibition, 1940, cat. 292 (ill.).

New York, Duveen Galleries, Centennial Loan Exhibition, 1841–1941, Renoir, November 8-December 6, 1941, cat. 14 (ill.).

The Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings by Renoir, February 3–April 1, 1973, cat. 20.

New York, Wildenstein Galleries, Renoir: The Gentle Rebel, October 23–November 30, 1974, cat. 10

The Art Institute of Chicago, Art at the Time of the Centennial, June 19–August 8, 1976, extended to August 15, 1976, no cat.

Tokyo, Isetan Museum of Art, Exposition Auguste Renoir, September–November, 1979, cat. 16 (ill.), traveled to Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, November 11–December 9, 1979.

Albi, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Trésors impressionnistes du Musée de Chicago, June 27–August 31, 1980, cat. 19 (ill.).

The Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings by Renoir, February 3–Apri1 1, 1973, cat. 20, (ill.).

London, Hayward Gallery, Renoir, January 30–April 21, 1985, cat. 35 (ill.), traveled to Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, May 14–September 2, 1985 and Boston Museum of Fine Arts, October 9, 1985–January 5, 1986.

Leningrad, Hermitage and Moscow, Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, From Delacroix to Matisse: Great French Paintings From the XIX century to the Beginning of the XXth century From Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago, 1988, cat. 20.

Tokyo, ASAHI, Masterworks of Modern Art From The Art Institute of Chicago, cat. 6 (ill.), 1994, traveled to Nagaoka, Niiagata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art; Nagoya, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art; and Yokohama Museum of Art, 1994–95.

Atlanta, High Museum of Art, Rings: Five Passions in World Art, June-September 1996, no cat. no.

Fort Worth, Tex., Kimbell Museum of Art, The Impressionists: Master Paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago, June 29–November 2, 2008, cat. 24 (ill.).

Publication History

“Good Prices Realized: Close of the Durand-Ruel Sale of Paintings,” New York Times (May 6, 1887), p. 4.

Pennsylvania Museum of Art Bulletin 29, 158 (November 1933), p. 19.

“Exhibition of the Ryerson Gift,” The Art Institute of Chicago Bulletin 32 (1938), pp.1 (ill.), 4.

The Renaissance Society of the University of Chicago Bulletin (Spring-Summer1933), p. 33 (ill.).

Albert C. Barnes and Violette de Mazia, The Art of Renoir (New York, 1935), pp. 261 (ill.), 410, 451, no. 97.

Toledo Museum of Art News 70 (March 1935).

“The Entire Ryerson Collection Goes to the Chicago Art Institute,” Art News 36 (February 1938), pp. 10, 11 (ill.).

R.H. Wilenski, Modern French Painters (New York, 1940), p. 337.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Picture Collection, (Chicago, 1961), pp. 394, 277 (ill.).

Frederick A. Sweet, “Great Chicago Collectors,” Apollo 84 (September 1966), pp. 202, 200 (ill.).

John Maxon, The Art Institute of Chicago (New York, 1970), pp. 84 (ill.), 285.

François Daulte, Auguste Renoir: Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1 (Lausanne, 1971), no. 187 (ill.).

The Art Institute of Chicago, 100 Masterpieces (Chicago, 1978), pp. 98-99, no. 55.

Bruno F. Schneider, Renoir (New York, 1978), pp. 24, 26 (ill.), 34.

Diane Kelder, The Great Book of French Impressionism (New York, 1980), p. 259 (ill.).

Elda Fezzi, Tout l’ouevre peint de Renoir, (Paris, 1985), no. 228 (ill.).

Denys Sutton, “Renoir’s Kindgdom,” Apollo (April 1985), pl. 10.

Diane Kelder, The Great Book of Impressionism (New York, 1986), p. 259 (ill.).

Richard Brettell, French Impressionists (Chicago, 1987), pp. 31, 33 (ill.).

James N. Wood and Katharine C. Lee, Master Paintings in The Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, 1988), p. 56 (ill.).

Sophie Monneret, Renoir (Paris, 1989), p. 64, fig. 3.

Anne Distel et al, Gustave Caillebotte: Urban Impressionist, exh. cat. (Paris, Musée d’Orsay and The Art Institute of Chicago, 1995), p. 193, fig. 1.

Ruth Breson, The New Painting Impressionism 1874–1886: Documentation, exh. cat., vol. 2 (Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, 1996), pp. 44, 63 (ill.).

Patrick Shaw Cable, “Questions of Work, Class, Gender and Style in the Art and Life of Gustave Caillebote,” Ph.D. diss. (Case Western Reserve University, 2000), pp. 47, 258, fig. 15.

Richard Brettell and Anne-Brigitte Fonsmark, Gauguin and Impressionism, exh. cat. (Copenhagen, Ordrupgaard and Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum, 2005–06), pp. 158-9, fig. 123.

The Age of Impressionism at the Art Institute of Chicago (New Haven and London, 2008), cat. 24, pp. 66–67 (ill.).

Colin B. Bailey, “An Impressionist Painting Large: Renoir, Exhibitions, and the Full-Length Format, 1893-1885,” Renoir, Impressionism, and Full-Length Painting. New Haven: Yale University Press and The Frick Collection, 2012. p. 8, p. 15.

Ownership History

Monsieur Poupin, Paris, 1876 [see Paris 1876]. Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York by 1883 [see London 1883]; possibly sale, New York, Moore’s Art Galleries, May 6, 1887 for $675 [see New York Times, May 6, 1887]. Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York by 1908 [see New York 1908]; sold to Martin A. Ryerson (died 1932), Chicago for $15,000 on December 16, 1911 [Durand-Ruel stock no. 112, according to information kindly provided by Caroline Durand-Ruel Godfroy, 1995]; by descent to his wife, Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson (died 1937), Chicago; bequeathed to the Art Institute, 1937.




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