Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Woman on a Stair

Woman on a Stair
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Painting, Oil on canvas, 167.5x65.3 cm
Origin: France, 1876

Along with its companion Man on a Stair, this painting served as part of the decoration for the great staircase of the mansion belonging to Georges Charpentier, a Parisian publisher. Thanks to Madame Charpentier, this mansion became a gathering place for the artistic elite of Paris. Renoir came to the Charpentiers' salon quite often and received a number of commissions as a result. The idea behind Renoir's stairway paintings was presumably to show the master and mistress of the house descending the stairs to greet their guests.

Just as the figure in Man on a Stair resembles Georges Charpentier, so the companion figure in the present picture is like the publisher's wife, Marguerite. A short woman, inclined to plumpness, Madame Charpentier knew how to be charming, but comported herself with a dignity sometimes bordering on arrogance. She was a highly intelligent, educated woman who exerted a great influence on her husband's publishing business and consequently on the literary life of the day. It is believed that, as with Man on a Stair, Renoir, while portraying Madame Charpentier, painted the figure not from her, but from another Marguerite, better known as Margot, Renoir's chief model and mistress.

An intriguing detail in this picture is the Japanese fan. Echoed in the outlines of the female figure and the design of the banisters, it helps to link all the elements together organically.

Style: Impressionism
Source of entry: formerly in the collection of Otto Gerstenberg, later his daughter's, Margarete Scharf, Berlin
Exibition: French Painting: 19th - 20th centuries
Transferred from Germany after World War II

Site map

Albums Authors Countries Sources Epoches Exibitions Genres
Personages Schools Styles Techniques Themes Types Workshops

Image Use Policy

Unless otherwise noted, images this web site may be used for any purpose without prior permission.

Any material in the public domain found on this web site is not protected by copyright.

We make no representations or warranties with respect to ownership of copyrights in the images, and do not represent others who may claim to be authors or owners of copyright of any of the images, and make no warranties as to the quality of the images.

We shall not be responsible for any loss or expenses resulting from the use of the images, and you release and hold us harmless from all liability arising from such use.

We do not sell art prints, framed posters or reproductions. Ads are shown only to compensate the hosting expenses.