Woman with a Fan

The actress Jeanne Samary may have posed for this painting in her cheerfully decorated dressing room at the Comédie-Française, a theater in Paris. Yet the image, as indicated by its title, was not intended as a portrait. The informal subject freed Renoir to experiment with composition—the figure occupies a compressed space, a vibrant bouquet competing with her features. She holds an uchiwa fan, reflecting a fascination with all things Japanese in late nineteenth-century France.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

French, 1841–1919

Woman with a Fan

c. 1879

Oil on canvas

25 3/4 x 21 1/4 in. (65.4 x 54 cm) Frame: 33 3/8 x 29 1/16 x 2 1/8 in. (84.8 x 73.8 x 5.4 cm)

Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1938



Conservation Image - Infrared Reflectogram

The infrared reflectogram shows clear traces of an erased figure just above half-way up on the right side of the canvas. It is impossible to be certain whether this belonged to a first version of the present composition or is the remnant of a previous flase start on the