La Parisienne exemplifies the ideals of Impressionism and the painting of modern life. Although the model for this painting is the actress Henriette Henriot (1857–1944), who posed for Renoir on numerous occasions, the title suggests that Renoir was painting not a portrait but rather a “type.” The type is a modern, urban woman dressed in the latest fashion. She looks out from the canvas, directly at the viewer. The lack of background and absence of perspective demonstrate the influence of Manet and of Japanese prints, although x-ray photography has revealed that Renoir originally included a door to the left and a curtain to the right. La Parisienne was exhibited at the First Impressionist Exhibition of 1874 and was well known by the time Gwendoline Davies purchased it in 1913.
Oil on canvas
64 3/8 x 42 3/4 inches (163.5 x 108.5 cm)
Purchased by Gwendoline Davies, 1913
National Museum Wales; Miss Gwendoline E. Davies
Bequest, 1951 (NMWA 2495)
Courtesy American Federation of Arts