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The Dreamer

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French, 1841–1919
Oil on canvas
Made in
Paris, Île-de-France, Western Europe, France, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 217
20 1/8 x 24 3/8 in. (51.1 x 61.9 cm)
framed: 28 7/8 in. × 33 1/4 in. × 4 in. (73.3 × 84.5 × 10.2 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
This vibrant, colorful work depicts a young, unidentified model that Pierre Auguste Renoir painted at his studio in the Montmartre district of Paris. He used his characteristically feathery brushwork, particularly in his representation of the background floral wallpaper. The mild eroticism of the sitter’s gaze—the English painter Walter Richard Sickert later described this as a “saucy” portrait—is enhanced by the way in which she idly places her finger in her mouth.
- 1905
Paul Bérard (d.1905), Paris, France [1]

1905/05/08 -
Paul Rosenberg & Co., Paris, France, purchased at auction of the Paul Bérard collection at the Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 8, 1905, lot no. 19

- still in 1923
Blanche Marchesi (d.1940), Paris, France [2]

- 1929
Charles S. Carstairs, Esq. (1865-1928), New York, USA, purchased from Blanche Marchesi [3]

1929 - 1935
M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York, NY, acquired from Charles S. Carstairs [4]

1935 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from M. Knoedler & Co., Inc. [5]

The main source for this provenance is Daulte's 1971 catalogue raisonné, cat. no. 302 [Daulte, François. "Auguste Renoir: Catalogue Raisonné de l'Oeuvre Peint." Lausanne: Edition Durand-Ruel, 1971, vol. 1]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1] Paul Bérard was a patron of Renoir in his early years when the artist strived for recognition. When Bérard's collection was dispersed after his death in 1905, it contained a large number of Renoirs unknown to the public, many of which had been painted by the artist at Bérard's house [Invoice and statement from M. Knoedler & Co., Inc. dated June 5, 1935, SLAM document files].

[2] On the occasion of a 1923 exhibition at Knoedler's London, which included this picture, the artist Walter Sickert wrote in a review: "Then there is the masterpiece that I remember in the possession of Blanche Marchesi, the girl with the saucy eyes and her finger in her mouth…" [Sickert, Walter, "French Pictures at Knoedler's Gallery" in "Burlington Magazine." London, July-December 1923, vol. XLIII; "Exhibition of Nineteenth Century French Paintings." London, Knoedler Galleries, 1923, cat. no. 46].

[3] According to the dealer's statement, Carstairs had acquired the painting from Blanche Marchesi (see note [1]).

[4] Charles S. Carstairs was an American art dealer based in London. He also served as chairman to the Knoedler's board. The year after Carstairs' death, the picture seemed to have been transferred into the Knoedler stock, as it is listed in a 1929 exhibition as "from the collection of Mr. C. S. Carstairs" ["1875-1886 The Classical Period of Renoir." New York: Knoedler & Company, 1929, cat. no. 7].

[5] Per invoice from M. Knoedler & Co., Inc. (see note [1]). Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, July 15, 1935.
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