Auguste Renoir (French, Limoges 1841–1919 Cagnes-sur-Mer)
Oil on canvas
18 1/2 x 15 1/2 in. (47 x 39.4 cm)
The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 821
Murer was an artist, celebrated pastry cook, restaurateur, novelist, poet, and avid collector of Impressionist paintings. By 1887, ten years after he sat for this portrait, he had amassed some 122 works by his painter-friends, including 15 by Renoir, whom he called "the greatest artist of our century." It has been suggested that Murer’s pose and gaze in this work served as a model for Van Gogh’s famous portrait of another great Impressionist collector, Dr. Paul-Ferdinand Gachet (private collection), Murer’s neighbor in Auvers.
Inscription: Signed (upper right): Renoir.
the sitter, Hyacinthe-Eugène Meunier, called Eugène Murer, Auvers-sur-Oise (1877–d. 1906; commissioned from the artist for Fr 100); his son, Paul Meunier, Beaulieu (1906–7; deposited with Durand-Ruel, Paris in 1906, returned to Meunier in 1907, sold for Fr 2,500); Julius Schmits, Wuppertal and Basel (by 1939–54; on deposit at Kunstmuseum, Basel, 1939–53; sold in 1954 through an intermediary to Wildenstein); [Wildenstein, New York, 1954; sold April 10 to Haupt]; Mrs. Ira (Enid A.) Haupt, New York (1954–83; sold to Annenberg); her brother and his wife, Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, Rancho Mirage, Calif. (1983–his d. 2002)
Rouen. Hôtel du Dauphin et d'Espagne. "Exposition de la collection Murer," May 1896, no. 27 [see Bailey 1991].
Kunsthalle Basel. "Aubusson-Teppiche aus fünf Jahrhunderten: Pierre-Auguste Renoir," February 13–March 14, 1943, no. 126 (as "Portrait de Murer à 30 ans," lent by a private collection).
New York. Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. "Festival of Art," October 29–November 1, 1957, no. 148 [see Bailey 1991].
New York. Wildenstein. "Renoir," April 8–May 10, 1958, no. 12 (as "Portrait of Eugène Murer," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Ira Haupt).
New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "One Hundred Years of Impressionism: A Tribute to Durand-Ruel," April 2–May 9, 1970, no. 28 (as "Portrait de Eugène Murer").
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.
Auguste Renoir. Letter to Eugène Murer. 1878–90 [published in Ref. Gachet 1957, p. 92], remarks that he may wish to borrow this painting and a portrait of Sisley for his exhibition opening on April 1.
Trublot [Paul Alexis]. "Le Catalogue de la collection Murer." Le Cri du peuple (October 21, 1887) [reprinted in Ref. Gachet 1956, pp. 170–73], lists it among Murer's fifteen paintings by Renoir.
Ambroise Vollard. "Le Salon de Mme Charpentier." L'Art et les artistes 1 (January 1920), ill. p. 168.
Ambroise Vollard. "Renoir et l'Impressionisme." L'Amour de l'art 2 (January 1921), ill. p. 53.
Julius Meier-Graefe. Renoir. Leipzig, 1929, p. 441, no. 153, ill., dates it about 1882.
M.-L. Cahen-Hayem. "Renoir portraitiste." L'Art et les artistes, n.s., 36 (June 1938), pp. 300–302, ill.
Hans Graber. Auguste Renoir. Basel, 1943, p. 64.
John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. New York, 1946, p. 333, ill., calls it "Portrait of the Pastry Cook Eugène Murer" and dates it about 1877; notes that Murer commissioned Renoir and Pissarro to paint portraits of himself and his sister.
Lucie and André Chamson. Renoir. Lausanne, 1949, pl. 28, date it 1882.
Paul Gachet. Deux amis des Impressionnistes: Le docteur Gachet et Murer. [Paris], 1956, pp. 159, 172, 175, 187, no. 41, fig. 87, dates it 1877 in the text and 1878 in the caption; notes that it was painted at the rue Voltaire and exhibited for some time in Rouen.
Paul Gachet, ed. Lettres Impressionnistes. Paris, 1957, p. 92, ill. between pp. 168 and 169, calls it "Eugene Auguste Meunier dit Murer" and dates it 1878.
Edith Hoffmann. "Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions." Burlington Magazine 100 (May 1958), p. 185, comments that the sitter "looks like a highly sensitive artist rather than a restaurateur".
John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. rev., enl. ed. New York, 1961, p. 413, ill. p. 415 (color), dates it about 1877.
Henri Perruchot. La Vie de Renoir. [Paris], 1964, p. 139.
Lawrence Hanson. Renoir: The Man, the Painter, and His World. New York, 1968, p. 172.
François Fosca. Renoir. French ed. 1923. New York, [1970?], p. 127.
François Daulte. Auguste Renoir: Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint. Vol. 1, Figures. Lausanne, 1971, pp. 41, 417, no. 246, ill., dates it 1877.
Elda Fezzi. L'opera completa di Renoir. [reprint ed., 1981]. Milan, 1972, pp. 101–2, no. 290, ill.
John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. 4th rev. ed. New York, 1973, p. 413, ill. p. 415 (color).
Marianna Reiley Burt. "Découverte: La Pâtissier Murer, un ami des Impressionnistes." L'Oeil no. 245 (December 1975), p. 59, fig. 2 (color).
Sophie Monneret. L'Impressionnisme et son époque. Paris, 1979–81, vol. 2, p. 97.
Anne Distel inPetit Larousse de la peinture. Paris, 1979, vol. 2, p. 1251.
Anne Distel inRenoir. Exh. cat., Hayward Gallery. [London], 1985, p. 22.
Nicholas Wadley, ed. Renoir: A Retrospective. New York, 1987, ill. p. 118.
Colin B. Bailey. "La Collection Annenberg." L'Oeil nos. 408–9 (July–August 1989), pp. 42, 45, fig. 1 (color).
Anne Distel. Impressionism: The First Collectors. New York, 1990, pp. 207–8, 212, 215, 273, fig. 182 (color).
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. ix, 34–37, 150–52, ill. (color and black and white), dates it toward the end of 1877; notes that Renoir used this size canvas for informal portraits of his sponsors; observes that Renoir repeated this pose in his portrait of Murer's sister (National Gallery of Art, Washington; D249); states that Renoir was paid Fr 100 for each of the portraits of Murer and his family.
Gary Tinterow. "Miracle au Met." Connaissance des arts no. 472 (June 1991), p. 36, remarks that it is the first male portrait by Renoir to enter the MMA.
Margaret Fitzgerald Farr. "Impressionist Portraiture: A Study in Context and Meaning." PhD diss., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1992, p. 156.
Colin B. Bailey in Colin B. Bailey. Renoir's Portraits: Impressions of an Age. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. New Haven, 1997, pp. 17, 34, 152, under no. 27, p. 291 n. 1, fig. 47 (color), dates it 1878 in the text and 1877 in the caption.
Gabriele Crepaldi. Gli impressionisti. Milan, 2001, p. 180, ill. (color).
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, pp. 534–35, no. 547, 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. 108–14, no. 21, ill. (color).
R[ichard]. S[hone]. "Supplement: Acquisitions (2000–10) of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York." Burlington Magazine 152 (December 2010), p. 842, fig. VIII (color).
John House inRenoir in the Barnes Foundation. New Haven, 2012, p. 93, fig. 1 (color), notes that Renoir made four portraits of members of Murer's family and that this is the only one of Eugène.
Renoir also painted a portrait of Murer's son, "Paul Meunier (The Child in Velvet)" in 1877 (Museum Langmatt, Baden, Switzerland; D247), and two portraits of Murer's half-sister, Marie Murer, in the same year (Barnes Foundation, Merion, Penn., National Gallery of Art, Washington; D248, 249).