The late Franois Daulte confirmed the authenticty of this work.
In August 1894 Gabrielle Renard (fig. 1) was hired to help Renoir's wife Aline, who was expecting her second child, Jean. Gabrielle remained in the Renoir household for almost twenty years, becoming Renoir's favorite and most frequent model. "Renoir disliked professional models and Gabrielle had all the qualities he regarded as essential in a model. Her skin 'took the light', she had the small-breasted, wide-hipped body he preferred, she was natural and relaxed and she was available to pose at any time" (W. Gaunt, Renoir, Oxford, 1982, p. 47).
After 1900, Renoir's adherence to the tenets of Impressionism largely gave way to the tradition of Rubens and Titian, whose work he reported to give him "quivers of joy." Although the warm palette and soft touch of the present work reveal the artist's Impressionist roots, the solidity of the figure demonstrates his mounting interest in a more classicizing form of art.
"Renoir's woman comes from a primitive dreamland; she is an artless, wild creature, blooming in perfumed scrub...she is a luxuriant, firm, healthy and naive woman with a powerful body, a small head, her eyes wide open, thoughtless, brilliant and ignorant, her lips blood-red and her nostrils dilated" (C. Mauclair, The French Impressionists, London, 1903, pp. 46-118).
(fig. 1) Photograph of Gabrielle Renard.