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Portrait of woman in off-shoulder red dress

A light skinned woman sits in a red armchair, facing the viewer but looking slightly left. Her curly brown hair is pinned up on the back of her head. She wears blue-and-yellow oval-shaped dangle earrings. Her dress is bright scarlet with a satiny sheen. It has an off-shoulder silhouette. The neckline is framed with transparent black lace that drapes down over the woman’s chest and shoulders. The woman’s left arm is bent across her chest. She wears a gold wedding band on her finger. The wall behind the woman has a red-and-green pattern of flowers and birds.

Gallery Text

This is one of two pendant portraits that Renoir painted of his elder brother, Pierre Henri, and his wife, Blanche-Marie Blanc (1841–1910?). When paired, the sitters look across at each other in the “en regard” format; Pierre Henri gazes to the right, and Blanche-Marie to the left. The paintings are set in a lush Parisian interior, which highlights the sitters’ comfortable bourgeois status. Blanche-Marie holds her left hand across her breast, evoking the pose of the Medici Venus, a famous ancient sculpture; she prominently displays her wedding band in a deferential gesture toward her husband. Renoir’s use of thin, broken brushstrokes adds a sense of motion to this engaging portrait. Seven years after the portraits were completed, Pierre Henri retired and the couple moved to the country. The paintings entered the art market separately, before the death of either sitter, and at a time when Renoir had already achieved artistic acclaim.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French (Limoges 1841 - 1919 Cagnes)
Madame Pierre Henri Renoir (Blanche-Marie Blanc)
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Countess Edmond de Pourtalès (née Mélanie de Bussière)
Work Type
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2710, North Arcade
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Physical Descriptions

Oil on canvas
81.3 x 64.8 cm (32 x 25 1/2 in.)
framed: 105.2 x 89 cm (41 7/16 x 35 1/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.r.: A Renoir 70


Recorded Ownership History
Gaston-Alexandre Camentron, Paris, France, sold; [to Durand-Ruel (1896-1906) sold]; to Adrien Hébrard, Paris, (1906), sold; [to Durand-Ruel, Paris, October 24, 1906- August 5, 1912) sold]; [to Galerie Thannhauser, 1912 - ?]. Oscar Schmitz, Dresden, ( by 1920 -1933); by descent to his son Edward A. Schmitz, Dresden (1933-1936?) sold; [through Wildenstein & Company, New York, NY, 1937, sold]; to Grenville Lindall Winthrop (1937 - 1943), New York, NY, bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1943.

Published by Scheffler 1920 as in Schmitz collection. When he left Germany in 1931, Oscar Schmitz took his collection to Switzerland. After his death, his son made arrangements to sell the collection.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art


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Publication History

  • Vittorio Pica, Gl'Impressionisti Francesi, Istituto Italiano d'Arti Grafiche (Bergamo, Italy, 1908), repr. p. 82
  • Julius Meier-Graefe, Auguste Renoir, Mit hundert Abbildungen, R. Piper & Co Verlag (Munich, Germany, 1911), repr. p. 36
  • Julius Meier-Graefe, Auguste Renoir, Henri Floury (Paris, France, 1912), repr. p. 33
  • George Biermann, "Die Kunst auf dem Internationalen Markt", Der Cicerone (May 1913), p. 326, no. 22
  • Karl Scheffler, "Die Sammlung Oskar Schmitz", Kunst und Künstler (1920 - 1921), p. 186
  • M. Dormoy, "La Collection Oskar Schmitz", L'Amour de l'Art (1926), p. 342
  • Julius Meier-Graefe, Renoir, Klinkhardt & Biermann (Leipzig, Germany, 1929), repr. p. 41, no. 23
  • Collection Oskar Schmitz, exh. cat., Kunsthaus Zürich (Zurich, Switzerland, 1932), no. 46, p. 8
  • The Oskar Schmitz Collection, exh. cat., Wildenstein & Company (Paris, France, 1936), no. 49, p. 108
  • Walter Pach, ed., Pierre Auguste Renoir, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1950), repr. p. 39
  • René Huyghe, L'Art et l'âme, Flammarion (Paris, France, 1960), repr. in color pl. V
  • Dorothy W. Gillerman, ed., Grenville L. Winthrop: Retrospective for a Collector, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, 1969), p. 130, repr. p. 131, no. 92
  • François Daulte, Auguste Renoir: catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Editions Durand-Ruel (Lausanne, Switzerland, 1971), vol. 1, no. 62, repr. b/w facing page and p. 417
  • Elda Fezzi, L'Opera Completa di Renoir nel periodo impressionista, 1869-1883, Rizzoli Editore (Milan, Italy, 1972), p. 92, pl. 56, repr. in b/w
  • Masakazu Yamazaki and Hideo Tomiyama, Renoir, ed. Toshio Nishimura, Japan Art Center (Tokyo, Japan, 1972), repr. in color pl. 21, text p. 113
  • Edward Lucie-Smith, Impressionist Women, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England, 1989), repr. in color fig. 67, p. 80; text pp. 83-85
  • Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 127; repr. as no. 376
  • Colin B. Bailey, "Renoir's Portrait of his Sister-in-Law", The Burlington Magazine (October 1995), 137, no. 1111, pp. 684-687, pp. 684-687, repr. p. 685 as fig. 47
  • Colin B. Bailey and John B. Collins, Renoir's Portraits: Impressions of an Age, exh. cat., Yale University Press (New Haven, CT and London, England, 1997), p. 272, fig. 115, b&w
  • Belinda Thomson, Impressionism: Origins, Practice, Reception, Thames and Hudson, Ltd. (London, 2000), p. 106, repr. in color
  • Impressionist and Modern Art, Part I, auct. cat., Sotheby's (New York, NY, November 9, 2000), repr. as fig. 3
  • Stephan Wolohojian, ed., A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press (U.S.) (New York, 2003), no. 111, pp. 277-279, repr. in color
  • Stephan Wolohojian, Ingres, Burne-Jones, Whistler, Renoir... La Collection Grenville L. Winthrop, exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 2003), no. 111, pp. 287-288, repr. in color
  • Guy-Patrice Dauberville and Michel Dauberville, Renoir 1858-1881, Editions Bernheim-Jeune (Paris, 2007), pp. 420-421, ill. p. 421 as no. 398

Exhibition History

  • Centennale de l'Art Français, [Unknown venue, Saint Petersburg], Saint Petersburg, 01/01/1912 - 12/31/1912
  • Portraits par Renoir, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, 06/05/1912 - 06/20/1912
  • Die Sammlung Oskar Schmitz, Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich, 01/01/1932 - 12/31/1932
  • La Collection Oscar Schmitz: Chefs-d'oeuvre de la peinture française du XIXe siècle, Galerie Wildenstein, Paris, 01/01/1936 - 12/31/1936
  • Grenville L. Winthrop: Retrospective for a Collector, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 01/23/1969 - 03/31/1969
  • Master Paintings from the Fogg Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/13/1977 - 08/31/1977
  • France and the Portrait, 1799-1870, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/03/1994 - 01/29/2002
  • A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Lyon, 03/15/2003 - 05/26/2003; National Gallery, London, 06/25/2003 - 09/14/2003; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 10/23/2003 - 01/25/2004
  • For Students of Art and Lovers of Beauty: Highlights from the Collection of Grenville L. Winthrop, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/16/2004
  • 32Q: 2710 North Arcade, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project

Verification Level

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