Limoges 1841 – Cagnes-sur-Mer 1919
Head of a Neapolitan Girl
Oil on canvas
35.6 x 30.8 cm
Adaline Van Horne Bequest, inv. 1945.911
Within the circle of Impressionists that included Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley, Auguste Renoir was known as the “painter of women” because of his subtle explorations in his portraits and nudes of female sensuality and joie de vivre. This canvas, which the Montreal collector William Van Horne acquired from the Parisian gallery owner and art dealer Ambroise Vollard, appears to be a preliminary study for larger paintings by Renoir, such as his Woman Dancing in an Italian Costume (private collection) and Mother and Child (Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia).