About This Artwork

Pierre-Auguste Renoir
French, 1841–1919

Jean Renoir Sewing, c. 1899

Oil on canvas
55.4 x 46.3 cm (21 ¾ x 18 ¼ in.)
Inscribed lower left: Renoir

Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1937.1027

The sitter in this painting is Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s four- or five-year-old son, Jean, who was to become famous in his own right as a film director. Long tresses were in fashion for little boys and Renoir so loved the “silken gold” of Jean’s hair that he insisted that it remain long, much to the boy’s embarrassment, until he was seven and school rules required it to be cut.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Chicago, Renaissance Society of The University of Chicago, Some Modern Primitives: International Exhibition of Paintings and Prints, Summer 1931, July 2–August 16, 1931, cat. 72.

Toledo Museum of Art, Paintings by French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, November 7–December 12, 1937, cat. 23.

Los Angeles County Museum, Pierre Auguste Renoir 1841–1919: Paintings, Drawings, Prints and Sculpture, July 14–August 21, 1955, cat. 58; traveled to San Francisco Museum of Art, September 1–October 2, 1955.

Denver Art Museum, The Turn of the Century–Exhibition of Masterpieces, 1880–1920, October 1–November 18, 1956, cat. 38.

Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings by Renoir, February 3–April 1, 1973, cat. 69.

Birmingham, Alabama, Birmingham Museum of Art, Fifty Years of French Painting: The Emergence of Modern Art, February 1–March 30, 1980, cat. 14.

Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, Renoir’s Portraits: Impressions of an Age, June 27–September 14, 1997, no cat. no.; traveled Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, October 17, 1997–January 4, 1998; Fort Worth, Texas, Kimbell Art Museum, February 8–April 26, 1998 (Chicago and Fort Worth only).

Sakura, Japan, Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art, Runowāru ten (Renoir: Modern Eyes), April 3–May 16, 1999, cat. 67; traveled to Sendai, Miyagi Museum of Art, May 25–July 4, 1999; Sapporo, Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, July 15–August 29, 1999.

Columbia, South Carolina, Columbia Museum of Art, Renoir!, April 25–October 1, 2007, no cat.

Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Impressionismus: Wie das Licht auf die Leinwand kam, February 29–June 22, 2008, cat. 155; traveled to Florence, Palazzo Strozzi, July 11–September 28, 2008 (Cologne only).

Fort Worth, Texas, Kimbell Art Museum, The Impressionists: Master Paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago, June 29–November 2, 2008, cat. 32.

Publication History

Art Institute of Chicago, “Notes,” Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago 9, 3 (March 1, 1915), p. 40.

Claude Roger-Marx, Renoir (Paris: Floury, 1933), p. 157 (ill.).

Michel Florisoone, Renoir (Paris: Éditions Hypérion, 1937), pp. 69 (ill.), 166; translation (Hyperion Press, 1938).

Art Institute of Chicago, “Exhibition of the Ryerson Gift,” Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago 32, 1 (January 1938), p. 4.

Josephine L. Allen, “The Entire Ryerson Collection Goes to the Chicago Art Institute,” Art News 36, 21 (February 19, 1938), p. 11.

Art Digest 16, 17 (June 1, 1942), p. 15 (ill.).

Art Institute of Chicago, “Notes,” Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago 42, 2, part 1 (February 1948), p. 28 (ill.).

Peyton Boswell, “Comments,” Art Digest 23, 10 (February 15, 1949), p. 8 (ill.).

Dorothy Bridaham, Renoir in the Art Institute of Chicago (Zurich: Conzett & Huber, 1954), pl. 8.

Bruno F. Schneider, Renoir (Berlin: Safari Verlag, [1957]), p. 79 (ill.); translation (Crown Publishers, 1978).

Raymond Cogniat, Renoir, Enfants (Paris: Fernand Hazan, 1958), pl. 3.

Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Picture Collection (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1961), p. 398.

Jean Renoir, Renoir (Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1962), p. 390; translation (Little, Brown and Company, 1962).

François Daulte, “Renoir: son oeuvre regardé sous l’angle d’un album de famille,” Connaissance des Arts 153 (November 1964), p. 78, fig. 16.

Thomas Willis, “Renoir on Renoir,” Chicago Tribune (January 28, 1973), p. K55 (ill.).

Roger Ebert, “Renoir’s Last, Fond Testament,” Chicago Sun Times (August 30, 1974), p. 49 (ill.).

Walter Pach, Auguste Renoir: Leben und Werk, trans. Walter Pach (Cologne: M. DuMont Schauberg, 1976), pp. 175, 183, fig. 75.

A. James Speyer, Twentieth-Century European Paintings (Chicago, 1980), pp. 12, 66 no. 3E9.

Douglas W. Druick, Renoir, Artists in Focus (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago and Harry N. Abrams, 1997), pp. 69, 72, 102, pl. 21, 111.

Gail Carolyn Sirna, In Praise of the Needlewoman: Embroiderers, Knitters, Lacemakers, and Weavers in Art (London and New York: Merrell, 2006), pp. 138–39 (ill.).

Iris Schaefer, Caroline von Saint-George, and Katja Lewerentz, Impressionismo: Dipingere la luce, Le tecniche nascoste de Monet, Renoir e Van Gogh, exh. cat. ed. Monica Maroni (Foundazione Palazzo Strozzi, Wallraf-Richsarta-Museum and Foundation Corboud, Milan: Skira, 2008), pp. 144, 147, ill. 155, 235.

Gloria Groom and Douglas Druick, with the assistance of Dorota Chudzicka and Jill Shaw, The Age of Impressionism at the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), p. 79, cat. 32 (ill.); revised edition (Art Institute of Chicago and Yale University Press, 2010).

Katja Lewerentz, “Pierre-Auguste Renoir – Jean Renoir Sewing, Brief Report on Technology and Condition,” in Research Project Painting Techniques of Impressionism and Postimpressionism, online-edition (Wallraf-Richartz–Museum/Fondation Corboud, 2008), http://www.museenkoeln.de/ausstellungen/wrm_0802_impressionismus/abb/gross/38_e.pdf, pp. 2, 16, fig. 14 and fig. 15 (x-ray).

Guy-Patrice Dauberville and Michel Dauberville, with the collaboration of Camille Frémontier-Murphy, Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, 1895–1902, vol. 3 (Paris: Éditions Bernheim-Jeune, 2010), p. 391, cat. 2376 (ill.).

Ownership History

Sold by Durand-Ruel, New York, to Martin A. Ryerson, 1914 [according to Registrar’s Office records]; Martin A. Ryerson (died 1933), Chicago; by descent to his widow (died 1937), Chicago; given to the Art Institute, 1937.




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