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Girl Tatting

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French, 1841 - 1919

Made in France, Europe

c. 1906

Oil on canvas

22 1/4 x 18 3/8 inches (56.5 x 46.7 cm) Framed: 29 7/8 × 26 × 4 1/4 inches (75.9 × 66 × 10.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Louis E. Stern Collection, 1963

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Additional information:
  • PublicationMasterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art

    A highly skilled technical painter, Renoir was more concerned than most Impressionists with maintaining a sense of continuity with the French Neoclassical painting tradition. This genre painting of a girl tatting is in the tradition of eighteenth-century domestic scenes by François Boucher and Jean-Siméon Chardin, or even, harks back yet further to the paintings of Jan Vermeer. Like these artists, Renoir focused on an exacting task requiring the sitter's full attention, in this case lace-making. The cropped bust-length figure is set against a deep green ground, and the resulting picture is dominated by the girl's concentration and her delicate finger work. Her embroidered silk dress, built up of streaks of vibrant hue to create a shimmering surface that suggests the iridescence of the white cloth, attests to Renoir's skillful application of paint. In a show of his own dexterous skill, the artist used a thin, discontinuous stroke of paint to indicate the girl's silk tatting thread. Jennifer A. Thompson, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 88.


Maurice Gangnat (1856-1924), Paris, by 1921 (from the artist?) [1]; sale, Gangnat collection, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 24-25, 1925, lot 147, illus. (as "La Frivolité"); purchased by Hessel (bought in?) [2]. Sale, Frederich Muller & Cie, Amsterdam, June 13, 1933, lot 31. Possibly with French Art Galleries, New York, as of 1938 [3]. Louis E. Stern, New York, by March 1946 [4]; bequest to PMA, 1963. 1. See Georges Rivière, Renoir et ses amis, Paris, 1921, illus. p. 239 as coll. Gangnat. According to Julius Meier-Graefe and Robert de Flers, Gangnat bought his Renoirs directly from the artist (see "Die Sammlung Gangnat," Kunst und Künstler, vol. 23, no. 9, June 1925, p. 354; and preface to 1925 Gangnat sale, Hôtel Drouot). 2. According to an annotation in the Frick copy of the auction catalogue the painting was sold to Mr. Hessel, presumably Jos. Hessel, the expert for the sale. 3. A note in the curatorial file indicates that the painting may have been with a New York City dealer, and that it was exhibited at French Art Galleries in 1938. This was probably the exhibition "French Impressionists," Dec. 12, 1938-Jan. 31, 1939, which included a painting called "La Frivolité" (no. 18), the name by which this painting was known. 4. The painting is listed (as "La Frivolité") in an insurance appraisal made for Stern by Georges Keller of Bignou Gallery dated March 1, 1946 (PMA registrar file). Stern exhibited the painting at Rosenberg & Co., New York in 1954.