Renoir's model, Nini Lopez, sits in the large garden adjacent to the artist's studio at 12 rue Cortot, in Montmartre. The same technique—varied brushstrokes of colors mixed with white—and interest in dappled light and violet shadows are found in Renoir's masterpiece of this period, Moulin de la Galette, 1876 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris).
Inscription: Signed (lower right): A Renoir
?the artist's studio, Paris (until d. 1919; Vollard cliché no. 649, presumably photographed as part of the inventory undertaken on behalf of the artist in 1915–18); possibly Renouard (Jane Renouardt, Paris?); Dr. Julius Elias, Berlin (until no later than 1926; evidently sold to Mak); [A. Mak (Jacob Baart de la Faille and S. J. Mak van Waay), Amsterdam, by 1926; sent on approval to Paul Rosenberg, Paris, and forwarded by him on April 8, 1926, on Mak's instruction, to Wildenstein, New York]; [Wildenstein, New York and London, 1926–42; possibly stock no. 1126d; received in New York on or by October 20, 1926; sent to London in late 1939; London stock no. 16126; sent for safekeeping to Houghton Hall, Houghton Regis, near Dunstable, Bedfordshire, November 18, 1940–February 1941; sold on or by October 16, 1942 to Molyneux]; Captain Edward Molyneux, London (1942–47; consigned on March 27, 1947 to Wildenstein; evidently sold on December 2, 1947 through Mayor Galleries, London, to Brown); C. H. Brown Esq. (from 1947); Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill, London (sold to Salz); [Sam Salz, New York, until 1954; sold on October 25 to Annenberg]; Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, Rancho Mirage, Calif. (1954–2002; jointly with MMA, 2002–his d. 2002)
Los Angeles Museum. "Five Centuries of European Painting," November 25–December 31, 1933, no. 45 (as "Lady Sitting in a Garden," lent by Wildenstein & Company).
Art Gallery of Toronto. "Paintings by Renoir and Degas," October 5–29, 1934, no. 1 (as "Femme dans un jardin," lent by Wildenstein and Company, Inc., New York).
London. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "Nineteenth Century Masterpieces," May 9–June 15, 1935, no. 2 (as "Woman Sitting in a Garden").
Paris. Durand-Ruel. "Quelques Maîtres du 18e et du 19e siècle," May 1938, no. 55 (as "Portrait de femme," lent by a private collection).
Amsterdam. Stedelijk Museum. "Honderd Jaar Fransche Kunst," July 2–September 25, 1938, no. 204 (as "Jeune femme, le modèle Nini," lent from a private collection).
New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "The Great Tradition of French Painting," June–October 1939, no. 38 (as "Young Woman Seated in a Garden").
London. National Gallery. "Nineteenth-Century French Paintings," December 9, 1942–January 17, 1943, no. 62 (as "Nini au Jardin," lent by Captain Edward Molyneux).
Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Summer Loan Collections," July 4–September 2, 1963, no catalogue.
New York. Wildenstein. "Renoir: In Commemoration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Renoir's Death," March 27–May 3, 1969, no. 93 (as "Nini in the Garden," lent by Ambassador and Mrs. Walter H. Annenberg).
London. Tate Gallery. "The Annenberg Collection," September 2–October 8, 1969, no. 26.
Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," May 21–September 17, 1989, unnumbered cat.
Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," May 6–August 5, 1990, unnumbered cat.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," August 16–November 11, 1990, unnumbered cat.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," June 4–October 13, 1991, unnumbered cat.
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT, BY TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION BY THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.
Ambroise Vollard. Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Paintings, Pastels and Drawings. [reprint ed. 1989]. San Francisco, 1918, p. 281, no. 1334, ill.
Paintings by Renoir and Degas. Exh. cat., Art Gallery of Toronto. [Toronto], 1934, p. 3, no. 1, dates it 1873.
Honderd Jaar Fransche Kunst. Exh. cat., Stedelijk Museum. [Amsterdam], 1938, p. 114, no. 204, dates it 1873–74; identifies Nini as the same model in "La Loge" of 1874 (Courtauld Gallery, London).
Albert Charpentier. Quelques Maîtres du 18e et du 19e siècle. Exh. cat., Galeries Durand-Ruel. [Paris], 1938, unpaginated, no. 55, dates it 1871–72.
The Great Tradition of French Painting. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. [New York], 1939, p. 16, no. 38.
Nineteenth Century French Paintings. Exh. cat., National Gallery. [London], , p. 6, no. 62, dates it 1874.
M. Roy Fisher. The Annenberg Collection. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. London, 1969, unpaginated, no. 26, ill. (color), identifies the sitter as Renoir's niece.
Renoir: In Commemoration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Renoir's Death. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. New York, 1969, unpaginated, no. 93, ill., dates it 1876; identifies the sitter as the daughter of Renoir's brother, Edmond.
François Daulte. Auguste Renoir: Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint. Vol. 1, Figures. Lausanne, 1971, p. 416, no. 147, ill., dates it 1875; identifies the sitter as Nini Lopez, one of Renoir's favorite models, and lists fourteen paintings, including this one, in which she is depicted (D147–149, 161, 164, 222–225, 227, 238, 245, 347–348); notes that the garden is on the rue Cortot.
Elda Fezzi. L'opera completa di Renoir. [reprint ed., 1981]. Milan, 1972, pp. 97–98, no. 192, ill.
Colin B. Bailey inMasterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. Ed. Colin B. Bailey, Joseph J. Rishel, and Mark Rosenthal. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1991, pp. 30–31, 143, ill. (color and black and white), dates it 1875–76, before Renoir began "Moulin de la Galette" in April 1876 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris; D209); identifies the setting as the garden of Renoir's second studio at 12 rue Cortot, which he rented in the spring of 1875; notes that it was "probably painted at the same session" as "Young Woman Seated in the Garden" of 1876 (private collection, D148); calls Nini Lopez a young woman from Montmartre who appears in at least fourteen of Renoir's paintings between 1874 and 1878.
Impressionist and Nineteenth-Century Art, Part 1. Christie's, London. June 29, 1999, pp. 40–41, fig. 1 (color), under no. 14, illustrates three other garden paintings of Nini wearing the same blue dress as in this picture (all private collection; D148, 194, 271).
Susan Alyson Stein in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2001–2002." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 60 (Fall 2002), pp. 5, 32, ill. (color), dates it 1875–76; remarks that it is part of a series of plein-air figure studies begun in the spring of 1875.
Clare A. P. Willsdon. In the Gardens of Impressionism. New York, 2004, pp. 166, 168–69, 267 n. 57, p. 282, colorpl. 173, dates it 1875–76; suggests that it depicts an orchard or kitchen garden area of the rue Cortot site.
Colin B. Bailey inRenoir Landscapes: 1865–1883. Exh. cat., National Gallery. London, 2007, pp. 62, 79 n. 73, p. 186.
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. 344, no. 302, ill.
Colin B. Bailey inMasterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. Ed. Susan Alyson Stein and Asher Ethan Miller. 4th rev. ed. [1st ed., 1989]. New York, 2009, pp. 103–7, no. 20, ill. (color), dates it to summer 1876, noting that Renoir did not move to the rue Cortot until May of that year.