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The Artistic Heritage of Modena: Wounded Art


The Bay of Naples

Auguste Renoir (French, Limoges 1841–1919 Cagnes-sur-Mer)

Oil on canvas
23 1/2 x 32 in. (59.7 x 81.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Julia W. Emmons, 1956
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    In this work, painted in 1881 during Renoir’s sojourn in Italy, the volcano Vesuvius can be seen in the background.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): Renoir. 81.

  • Provenance

    [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1882–83; stock no. 2391; bought from artist on May 22, 1882, for Fr 700; sold on May 1, 1883, for Fr 3,000 to Duncan]; James Duncan, Benmore House, Dunoon, Argyllshire, Scotland (1883–ca. 1886/88); [James S. Inglis, New York, until 1888; sold on July 18, for Fr 275, to Boussod, Valadon]; [Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Paris, 1888–91; stock no. 19390; sold on December 24, 1891, for Fr 2,600, to Durand-Ruel]; [Durand-Ruel, New York, 1891; sold to Palmer]; Mrs. Potter Palmer, Chicago (until 1894; sold on June 28 to Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, New York, 1894–1911, stock no. 1192; sold on May 23 to Emmons]; Arthur B. Emmons, New York and Newport (1911–d. 1922); Mrs. Arthur B. Emmons (Julia W.) New York and Newport (1922–d. 1956)

  • Exhibition History

    Paris. Durand-Ruel. "Exposition des oeuvres de P. A. Renoir," April 1–25, 1883, no. 32.

    New York. Wildenstein. "Renoir," April 8–May 10, 1958, no. 33 (as "Bay of Naples").

    San Francisco. California Palace of the Legion of Honor. "Paintings by the Sea," July 1-30, 1961.

    Santa Barbara Museum of Art. August 8–September 3, 1961.

    Ann Arbor. University of Michigan Museum of Art. "Pompeii, As Source and Inspiration," 1977, no. 46.

    Naples. Museo di Capodimonte. "Capolavori Impressionisti dei Musei Americani," December 3, 1986–February 1, 1987, no. 43 (as "Il golfo di Napoli").

    Milan. Pinacoteca di Brera. "Capolavori Impressionisti dei Musei Americani," March 4–May 10, 1987, no. 43.

    Amsterdam. Van Gogh Museum. "Theo van Gogh," June 24–September 5, 1999, no. 65 (as "La baie de Naples").

    Paris. Musée d'Orsay. "Theo van Gogh: Marchand de tableaux, collectionneur, frère de Vincent," September 27, 1999–January 9, 2000, no. 65.

    London. National Gallery. "Renoir Landscapes: 1865–1883," February 21–May 20, 2007, no. 65 (as "The Bay of Naples [Morning]").

    Edinburgh. National Gallery Complex. "Impressionism and Scotland," July 19–October 12, 2008, unnumbered cat. (pl. 2).

  • References

    Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX–XX Centuries." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 3, New York, 1967, pp. 154–55, ill.

    Barbara Ehrlich White. "Renoir's Trip to Italy." Art Bulletin (December 1969), pp. 339, 343, 345, no. 10, fig. 19, ill., as "Vesuvius, Evening".

    John Rewald. "Théo van Gogh, Goupil, and the Impressionists." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 81 (January 1973), pp. 28–29, 62 n. 60, fig. 15.

    Barbara Ehrlich White. Renoir: His Life, Art, and Letters. New York, 1984, pp. 116, 122, 127, ill. (color).

    Gary Tinterow et al. Capolavori impressionisti dei musei americani. Exh. cat., Museo di Capodimonte, Naples. Milan, 1987, pp. 96–97, 112, no. 43, ill. (color).

    Richard Shone. The Janice H. Levin Collection of French Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2002, p. 51, fig. 23.

    Colin B. Bailey in Renoir Landscapes: 1865–1883. Exh. cat., National Gallery. London, 2007, pp. 68, 80 n. 127, fig. 48 (color).

    Guy-Patrice Dauberville, and Michel Dauberville, with Camille Fremontier-Murphy. "1858–1881." Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles. 1, Paris, 2007, p. 221, no. 167, ill.

    Christopher Riopelle in Renoir Landscapes: 1865–1883. Exh. cat., National Gallery. London, 2007, pp. 48, 249–51, no. 65, ill. (color), compares it to the similar view in a painting in the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, noting that contrary to past opinion, this work depicts a morning scene while the Clark version depicts the evening; states that Renoir may have looked down upon the bay from his window or balcony at the Hotel Trinacaria, above the northeastern end of the quay at the Piazza Municipio.

    Frances Fowle. Impressionism and Scotland. Exh. cat., National Gallery Complex. Edinburgh, 2008, pp. 13, 23, 65, 123, 129, 143, colorpl. 2, states that James Duncan purchased it in May 1883, making it the first Impressionist painting to be acquired by a Scottish collector; notes that it was also the only Renoir purchased by a British collector in the nineteenth century.

    Andrew McDonald Watson. "James Duncan of Benmore, the First Owner of Renoir's 'Bay of Naples (Morning)'." Metropolitan Museum Journal 43 (2008), pp. 195–200, fig. 1 (color), notes that it was sold by Durand-Ruel to Duncan on May 1, 1883 for Fr 3,000, making it the first Renoir painting sold by Durand-Ruel in Scotland and the only known Renoir acquired by a British collector in the nineteenth century.

    Andrew Watson. "James Duncan of Benmore: A Remarkable Victorian Collector." Journal of the Scottish Society for Art History 14 (2009–10), pp. 44, 46, 47 n. 4, p. 49 n. 54, fig. 6.

    Andrew M. Watson. James Duncan: An Enlightened Victorian. Edinburgh, 2010, pp. 58–59, 66, 71, 78, ill. (color), and ill. on cover (color).

  • Notes

    A similar painting by Renoir of the Bay of Naples, also dated 1881, is in the Sterling and Francine Clark Institute in Williamstown, Mass.

  • See also