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.

Comments (26)

Marc Haynes Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
14 August 2020, 11:59
Hi Jane,

Thank you very much for getting in touch with us. You can buy prints of La Parisienne at our online shop here.

Best wishes,

Digital Team
11 August 2020, 14:37
Is it possible to buy a copy of La Parisienne in oil or print please? Saw it decades ago when exhibited in London, hope to visit Cardiff if/when I recover from ME.
Ian Black
29 August 2018, 09:02
Visited the museum and was so impressed. A wonderful atmosphere with superb exhibits.
The impressionist paintings were outstanding especially this one.
The colour blue was a feast for the eyes. Stunning.
I had a thoroughly enjoyable day.
Sara Huws Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
11 April 2018, 09:24

Hi there Dwight,

Thanks for your comment. We do not have any specific resources on the pigments used by Renoir but this article on the Met Museum website talks about the types of pigments used by the Impressionists.

Best wishes

Digital Team

Dwight L. Mills
11 April 2018, 01:31
Could you tell me where I could find the colors used by Renoir for this painting?
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 – 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.
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