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Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Misia Sert

Key facts
Full title Misia Sert
Artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Artist dates 1841 - 1919
Date made 1904
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 92.1 × 73 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1960
Inventory number NG6306
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Misia Sert
Pierre-Auguste Renoir

This is a portrait of Misia Sert, née Godebska, who was the darling of the highest artistic circles in France at the turn of the twentieth century. It is hard to overstate quite how glamorous and influential she was: the local newspapers dubbed her the 'Queen of Paris’. A talented pianist, she associated with nearly all the most famous artists, writers and musicians in the city and sat for portraits by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard. Renoir painted her portrait seven or eight times, each of which required three day-long sittings per week for a month. This is one of the best known. It is dated 1904, the year she turned 32 and divorced her first husband. Renoir has captured her shimmering glamour and poise but also perhaps something of her emotional turmoil – she seems to be looking directly at the viewer yet not quite focusing on us.

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