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Woman at the Piano, 1875-1876

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Artist Renoir, Pierre-Auguste The bluish tones of the dress worn by this woman playing the piano in a dim dark interior which is lit only by the orange light of the candles reveal Renoir ad a true impressionist painter. This was the first time he had dealt with this classic subject, but he was to return to it frequently. In compositional terms, the painting is quite original: the painter is slightly above his model, and the figure and the piano take up the entire pictorial space. The only reference to the real space of the room in which the scene takes place is a vase containing a plant on the floor in the upper left-hand corner. This is a scene from contemporary bourgeois life, and the painting is deliberately devoid of any anecdotal allusion. The model had not been positively identified, but she is already recognisable as one of the artist’s favourite physical types.
This probably the painting Renoir showed at the second exhibition organised by the impressionist group in 1876. The owner was a certain Poupin, who was a business associate of Durand-Ruel’s. Durand-Ruel’s stock lists for 1876 also include a Femme au piano, which was deposited with a M. Cottineau of the rue Rambuteau on 3 July 1880, but there is no further record of it. This painting was sold to Martin Ryerson by Durand-Ruel in 1911.




Institution Art Institute of Chicago
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 93.2 x 74.2 cm













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