This picture, which is in effect drawn directly with paint, was almost certainly executed out-of-doors about 1870. The site is in the village of Louveciennes, west of Paris, where Renoir's parents had a summer home. Camille Pissarro, who lived and worked in the village in 1869–70, painted a view of the same road (National Gallery, London).
Inscription: Signed (lower right): Renoir
[Ambroise Vollard, Paris; bought from the artist]; possibly sale, Georges Petit, Paris, March 3, 1919, no. 93, for Fr 13,000; [A. & R. Ball, New York, until 1948; sold to Shaefer]; Lesley and Emma Sheafer, New York (1948–his d. 1956); Emma A. Sheafer, New York (1956–d. 1973)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Lesley and Emma Sheafer Collection: A Selective Presentation," July 16, 1975–?, no. 33 (as "Family Walking in the Park").
Amsterdam. Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh. "Franse meesters uit het Metropolitan Museum of Art: Realisten en Impressionisten," March 15–May 31, 1987, no. 19 (as "Een weg in Louveciennes").
Fort Lauderdale. Museum of Art. "Corot to Cézanne: 19th Century French Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," December 22, 1992–April 11, 1993, no catalogue.
Paris. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. "Impressionnisme: Les origines, 1859–1869," April 19–August 8, 1994, no. 179 (as "Chemin à Louveciennes [A Road in Louveciennes]").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Origins of Impressionism," September 27, 1994–January 8, 1995, no. 179.
London. Hayward Gallery. "Landscapes of France: Impressionism and its Rivals," May 18–August 28, 1995, no. 64.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Landscapes of France: Impressionism and its Rivals," October 4, 1995–January 14, 1996, no. 64.
London. National Gallery. "Renoir Landscapes: 1865–1883," February 21–May 20, 2007, no. 8 (as "Road in Louveciennes").
Kunstmuseum Basel. "Renoir. Zwischen Bohème und Bourgeoisie: Die frühen Jahre," April 1–August 12, 2012, no. 17.
"Louveciennes et ses peintres." Louveciennes: Bulletin officiel municipal no. 40 (March 1980), p. 13, ill., states that the subject is inappropriately identified as a park in Louveciennes and that it represents instead a much-used road.
Christopher Lloyd inRetrospective Camille Pissarro. Exh. cat., Isetan Museum of Art. [Tokyo], 1984, p. 128, under no. 12.
Sjraar van Heutgen et al. inFranse meesters uit het Metropolitan Museum of Art: Realisten en Impressionisten. Exh. cat., Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1987, pp. 64–65, no. 19, ill. (color, overall and detail).
Charles Harrison. "Impressionism, Modernism and Originality." Modernity and Modernism: French Painting in the Nineteenth Century. New Haven, 1993, p. 184, pl. 174, contrasts it with Pissarro's painting of the same motif, stating that the Renoir "represents the viewpoint of a tourist looking for a rural idyll".
Henri Loyrette inOrigins of Impressionism. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1994, p. 456, no. 179, ill., suggests that it was made when Renoir visited his parents in Voisins-Louveciennes in the summer of 1869; notes the presence of the aqueduct of Louveciennes, near where Monet lived at the time, and calls it little known; remarks that Pissarro painted the same motif the following spring.
Gary Tinterow in Gary Tinterow and Henri Loyrette. Origins of Impressionism. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1994, pp. 263, 297, 448, no. 179, fig. 325 (color), groups it with works exhibiting the aesthetic of the pochade.
John House. Landscapes of France: Impressionism and Its Rivals. Exh. cat., Hayward Gallery. London, 1995, pp. 190–93, no. 64, ill. (color, overall and detail), discusses the Marly Aqueduct, which appears in this and several other paintings of this area, in connection with Pissarro's "The Versailles Road at Louveciennes (Rain Effect)" (Clark Art Institute, Williamstown); contrasts it with the painting at the Clark and suggests that the principal difference is in the figures, which here make the scene into a pleasure ground, and in the Pissarro, a workplace; notes that the handling in our painting is comparable to Renoir's "La promenade" of 1870 (J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles).
Colin B. Bailey inRenoir Landscapes: 1865–1883. Exh. cat., National Gallery. London, 2007, pp. 103–5, no. 8, ill. (color), calls it "Road in Louveciennes" and dates it early summer 1870; identifies the site as the rue St-Michel with the Marly aqueduct in the background; states that the signature was added at a later date; observes the contrast between the finely dressed couple and girl with the peasant boy and woman passing by "in quiet acknowledgement of their separate rituals".
John Zarobell inRenoir Landscapes: 1865–1883. Exh. cat., National Gallery. London, 2007, p. 108.
Guy-Patrice Dauberville, and Michel Dauberville, with Camille Fremontier-Murphy. Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles. Vol. 1, 1858–1881. Paris, 2007, p. 231, no. 180, ill.
Marie-Louis Schembri and L. M. Boring inMonet et Renoir Côte à Côte à la Grenouillère. Exh. cat., Musée de la Grenouillère. Croissy-sur-Seine, 2012, p. 20.
Pissarro depicted the same scene from a vantage point only slightly further back, View from Louveciennes (National Gallery, London, no. 3265), also about 1870, indicating the interaction of the two painters.
In 1979 Stella Blum of the MMA Costume Institute made observations based on the costume of the woman in the picture: the dress could not date before 1868, although its shape is more typical of the early 1870s; the picture could not be later than 1874, if the lady is au courant. Between the years 1868 and 1874 parasols became very small, as here, and dress reflected the styles of the late eighteenth century. The child's costume is also from the early 1870s.