Art Collections Online

The Parisian Girl [La Parisienne]

RENOIR, Pierre-Auguste (1841 - 1919)

The Parisian Girl

Date: 1874

Media: oil on canvas

Size: 163.2 x 108.3 cm

Acquired: 1952; Bequest; Gwendoline Davies

Accession Number: NMW A 2495

Collection: The Davies Sisters Collection

In 1874 this painting was included in the first Impressionist exhibition. The sitter was Madame Henriette Henriot, who acted at the Odéon in 1863-68. Renoir often used her as a model. By giving the painting the title La Parisienne, he indicated that it represents a type, rather than a particular individual. A reviewer of the 1874 exhibition wrote 'The toe of her ankle boot is almost invisible, and peeps out like a little black mouse. Her hat is tilted over one ear and is daringly coquettish...The smile is false, and the face is a strange mixture of the old and the childish. But there is still something naive about her. One gets the impression that this little lady is trying hard to look chaste. The dress, which is extremely well painted, is a heavenly blue.' Formerly in the distinguished collection of Henri Rouart, a friend of Degas, where it was admired by such artists as Paul Signac, this work was purchased by Gwendoline Davies in 1913.


14 January 2018, 21:13
I have loved this beautiful painting since I was a little girl and visited Cardiff museum many times always being certain to gaze at my blue lady with wonder she just fascinated me. I left Cardiff for Cornwall aged 16 but have a fridge magnet of her and recently a friend in Cardiff bought me a print which I’ve framed and put on my hall wall. My next visit to my home city will definitely include a long overdue visit to the museum to see her properly once again
Marilyn Wood
18 October 2017, 22:59
I am now nearly 70 and have been visiting the museum over many years and have stood in front of this painting for many hours over the years. This picture to me, as a child born this Cardiff held me mesmerised. Having left Cardiff in 1975, any time I return I return to her and stand and look and take in her beauty. There is something a bit cheeky about her smile and since first I saw her my favourite has always been blue..
Sara Huws Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales Staff
24 May 2017, 11:32
Hi there Beth

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us - I'm so happy to hear that you found a happy place here in the museum, in front of this painting. I hope you continue to visit us - you'll always be welcome.

Best wishes,

Digital Team
Beth Mitchell
24 May 2017, 10:54
This has been my favourite piece of art since I was little. My family didn't have much money so they used to take us to free places like the museum a lot and I would always hop up the big marble steps, skip into the exhibition and sit at the feet of the painting. I don't really know why I love it so much its just been there throughout all of the hard times in my life. I have a fridge magnet with the painting on it but one day I want to get a life sized print of the picture, frame it really nicely and hang it on my wall. the Blue lady has been helping me through life, smiling all the way.
Davide -Le Crochet
24 February 2017, 12:12
I know this madame for over 20 years . Any time that I visit Cardiff I call in to say Bonjour. She smiles at me every time.
15 December 2015, 12:44
I started taking my daughter to the museum when she was aged about 3. She always loved La Parisienne or the Blue Lady as she always called it. Our first port of call on any visit was the Blue Lady. She's nearly 16 now and was only saying how much she missed seeing the painting as we now live near York. The last time we visited the museum was about 4 years ago and we were disappointed that the Blue Lady had gone on tour to the USA I believe.
Gail Hamilton
24 September 2014, 19:10
I was absolutely bowled over to see The Blue Lady when I was about 12. I was so amazed that there was no security and I stood in front of it and could have touched it. I am looking forward to taking my children and grandchildren to visit my old haunts in Cardiff next Easter and The Blue Lady will be top of our list.
Donna Henderson
29 June 2014, 15:20
We are amazed at how this painting is the image of our 4 year old daughter Nadine, a few people have said it weird !!!!!
22 June 2014, 20:08
Have been visiting the Blue Lady for 50 years. Never fails to take my breath away.
16 May 2014, 22:55
Whenever I visit the museum, I have to go and see this painting. It really blows me away every time I see it. I think it is very beautiful and has to be my favourite painting of all time.

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