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Tête de jeune fille coiffée d'un chapeau de jardin

Tête de jeune fille coiffée d'un chapeau de jardin
signed 'A. Renoir' (lower left)
oil on canvas
11 1/8 x 10 1/4 in. (28.2 x 26 cm.)
Painted circa 1895
Alphonse Portier, Paris; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 29 November 1902, lot 76.
Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Paris (acquired at the above sale).
Armand Cabrol, Boujan-sur-Libron (acquired from the above, July 1903).
Private collection, Paris.
Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Paris (November 1908).
Galerie Miethke, Vienna (acquired from the above, March 1912).
Galerie Thannhauser, Lucerne.
Rudolf Ritter von Kahler (probably acquired from the above).
Dr. Erich von Kahler, Vienna, Munich and Zurich & Antoinette von Kahler, Vienna (by descent from the above).
Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne (acquired from the above Dr. von Kahler, 1938).
Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Booth, Grosse Pointe (acquired from the above, September 1938).
By descent from the above to the late owner.

Please note that the present work is being offered for sale pursuant to a settlement agreement between the current owner and heir of Erich von Kahler. The settlement agreement resolves the dispute over ownership of the work and title will pass to the successful bidder.
A. Vollard, Tableaux, pastels et dessins de Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paris, 1918, vol. II, p. 30 (illustrated).
G.-P. and M. Dauberville, Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, 1895-1902, Paris, 2010, vol. III, p. 364, no. 2326 (illustrated).
Further details
This work will be included in the forthcoming Pierre-Auguste Renoir digital catalogue raisonné, currently being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc.

Lot Essay

Dr. Erich von Kahler (1885-1970)—intellectual, literary scholar, essayist and teacher—was born in Prague, raised in Vienna and studied in Germany. Black-listed by the Nazis for his writings and threatened, along with his family, by anti-Jewish measures taking hold, Von Kahler left Germany in 1933, eventually reaching the United States in 1938. He and his family re-established themselves in Princeton, where Erich lectured for many years, part of the émigré circle centring on One Evelyn Place, his home with second wife Alice Loewy; their friends included Albert Einstein and the family of Thomas Mann.
“I have taken up again, never to abandon it, my old style, soft and light of touch,” Renoir wrote to his dealer Durand-Ruel in 1888, full of enthusiasm for his latest efforts. “This is to give you some idea of my new and final manner of painting—like Fragonard, but not so good” (quoted in J. House, Renoir in the Barnes Foundation, New Haven, 2012, p. 121).
Renoir's new approach represented a sea-change after the controversial Ingres-inspired method he cultivated in the previous decade. Although the model’s identity is unknown, her youthful rounded features conform closely to Renoir’s preferred type during the 1890s, softer and more idealized than the naturalistic young grisettes or working girls whom he portrayed during his Impressionist heyday. In his own words, “for me a painting should be something pleasant, joyous, and pretty. Yes, pretty!" (quoted in ibid., p. 16).
In the present portrait, the young woman gazes out of the image plane towards the left, seemingly unaware of the artist’s presence. Her hair, glinting in the sunlight, is captured in soft, feathery brushstrokes. The harmonious, integrated palette of vibrant blues, yellows and verdant greens imply an outdoor yet private setting—all heightened by Renoir's soft, caressing touch.
In 1895, Renoir and his wife Aline bought a house in Essoyes, her home village, where they would spend the summers away from the heat of Paris. Renoir felt very much at home in this charming village in the Champagne-Ardennes region, surrounded by Aline's family and friends. At this time, while he continued to receive and work on lucrative large-scale society-portrait commissions, his private work focused on informal portraits of family members and friends. Judging by the dress of the young sitter and the sun dappled background, Tête de jeune fille coiffée d'un chapeau de jardin appears to date from one of these rural summer idylls. To achieve a natural, relaxed effect, he asked his sitters to present themselves in their natural manner, so that the finished result would be true to modern life.

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