Description & Technical information

The interest of this painting is partly due to its sensuality. The heavy hair holds a prominent position at a time when showing hair, if not tightly hidden under a hat, was considered as intimate. The erotic quality of hair is common to many civilizations, and in the nineteenth
century, with the onset of Romanticism, the freedom of flowing hair was heavily exploited as a vector of artistic modernism. The bourgeois culture of the time held that only 'women of ill repute' might dare to leave their houses without covering their heads. Some of the Impressionists will later deliberately exploit this act of transgression, in particular those who specialized in exploring representations of feminine intimacy, such as Degas and Renoir.

This piece is the first study for the painting : Woman at the Fountain (La Source), 1910, which is currently shown at the Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu, Japan.
Notice that the stance of the hand in the hair is more gracious in this study than in the final painting.

Date:  Circa 1908
Period:  20th century
Origin:  France
Medium: Oil on canvas

Signed lower right : Renoir

Attestation of inclusion issued by the Comité Renoir at the Wildenstein Institute, September 25th, 2015.

Dimensions: 34.5 x 47 cm (13⁵/₈ x 18¹/₂ inches)
Provenance: Ambroise Vollard, Paris.
Private collection, France.


Ambroise Vollard, Pierre-Auguste Renoir : Tableaux, Pastels et Dessins, Tome I, Paris, 1918, illustrated under the n°631, p.160.
Guy-Patrice, Michel Dauberville, Renoir : Catalogue Raisonné des Tableaux, Pastels, Dessins et Aquarelles, Tome IV, illustrated under the n°3332, Tête de femme, p.384.
Musée d'art moderne, Troyes, Un autre Renoir, Exhibition catalogue, Snoeck Publishers, 2017, illustrated p.143.

work will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Critique du peintre
Pierre-Auguste Renoir being prepared by the Renoir Committee at the
Wildenstein Institute. Attestation of inclusion dated September 25th,

Exhibitions: Un autre Renoir, Musée d'Art Moderne de Troyes, in collaboration with the Musée d'Orsay and the Musée de l'Orangerie, June 17th - September 17th, 2017.

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints