Auguste Renoir. Letter to Catulle Mendès. April 1888 [published in French and English in Ref. Bailey 1991, pp. 44, 157 n. 4], proposes that he paint a life-size portrait of Mendès's three daughters for Fr 500, adding that he intends to exhibit the painting in May; includes a quick sketch of the proposed horizontal composition with a description of each girl's pose, suggesting "I shall do the drawings at your house and the portrait at mine".
Félix Fénéon. "Quelques impressionnistes." La Cravache. June 2, 1888 [reprinted in Fénéon, "Oeuvres," introduction by Jean Paulhan, Paris, 1948, p. 138].
Auguste Renoir. Letter to Catulle Mendès. November 27, 1888 [reproduced in "Künstler-Autographen von 1850 bis 1950," Gutekunst & Klipstein, Bern, May 14, 1958, no. 101], requests the [final] payment of Fr 100 for this painting.
Auguste Renoir. Letter to Catulle Mendès.  [excerpt published in "Autographes de peintres, anciens et modernes, livres illustrés modernes. Numéro 85," Marc Loliée, Paris, , no. 104], reports that he has made a frame for it.
Gustave Geffroy. La Vie artistique. Vol. 1, Paris, 1892, pp. 161–63, calls it among the few exceptional works at the Salon of 1890.
Arsène Alexandre. Exposition A. Renoir. Exh. cat., Durand-Ruel. Paris, 1892, p. 30.
C. L. de Moncade. "Le Peintre Renoir et le Salon d'Automne." La Liberté 10 (October 15, 1904), unpaginated [English translation published in Barbara Ehrlich White, ed., "Impressionism in Perspective," Englewood Cliffs, 1978, p. 22], comments that at the Salon of 1890 this picture was installed where it could not be seen.
Théodore Duret. Histoire des peintres impressionistes. Paris, 1906, p. 148, notes that this picture's exhibition in 1890 marked the last time that Renoir participated at the Salon.
Julius Meier-Graefe. Auguste Renoir. Munich, 1911, pp. 58, 146–48, 150, 160, ill. [French ed., 1912, pp. 54, 140, 142–43, 145, 156, ill.], as in the collection of Prince Wagram, Paris.
Charles Louis Borgmeyer. The Master Impressionists. Chicago, 1913, p. 148, claims that Renoir "painted these same children several years after in three very similar pictures, all called 'Au piano'".
Ambroise Vollard. Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Paintings, Pastels and Drawings. [reprint ed. 1989]. San Francisco, 1918, p. 89, no. 353, ill.
François Fosca. Renoir. Paris, 1923, p. 37.
Paul Jamot. "Renoir (1841–1919) (deuxième et dernier article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 8 (December 1923), p. 342.
Théodore Duret. Renoir. Paris, 1924, p. 71.
Ambroise Vollard. Renoir, An Intimate Record. New York, 1925, p. 242, as in the collection of the prince of Wagram, Paris.
Julius Meier-Graefe. Renoir. Leipzig, 1929, pp. 242–46, no. 197, ill.
R. H. Wile[n]ski. French Painting. Boston, 1931, p. 264, as in the WIldenstein collection.
"Manet and Renoir Figure Together in Loan Exhibition." Art News 32 (December 16, 1933), pp. 10–11, ill.
Albert C. Barnes and Violette De Mazia. The Art of Renoir. New York, 1935, pp. 103–4, 414–15, 458, no. 167.
Claude Roger-Marx. Renoir. Paris, 1937, pp. 45–46, 88.
"Notable Paintings in the Art Market. Part II: Modern European Masters." Art News (December 25, 1937), pp. 10–11, ill.
Helen Comstock. "The Connoisseur in America: Loan Exhibition of French Portraits." Connoisseur 101 (April 1938), p. 205, ill.
The Great Tradition of French Painting. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. [New York], 1939, p. 16, no. 37.
Charles Terrasse. Cinquante portraits de Renoir. Paris, 1941, unpaginated, pl. 26.
Alfred M. Frankfurter. Renoir, Centennial Loan Exhibition, 1841–1941. Exh. cat., Duveen Galleries. New York, 1941, pp. 148, 153–54, no. 59, ill. p. 81.
Michel Drucker. Renoir. Paris, 1944, pp. 79, 203, no. 95, ill.
Lucie and André Chamson. Renoir. Lausanne, 1949, p. 25, pl. 35.
Henri Perruchot. La Vie de Renoir. [Paris], 1964, pp. 234, 364.
Lawrence Hanson. Renoir: The Man, the Painter, and His World. New York, 1968, pp. 178, 234, 237.
M. Roy Fisher. The Annenberg Collection. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. London, 1969, unpaginated, ill. (color).
M[arie].-G[eneviève]. de La Coste-Messelière. "Un Jeune prince amateur d'Impressionnistes et chauffeur." L'Oeil 179 (November 1969), pp. 24, 26, fig. 10, states that Wagram's sister, the princesse de la Tour d'Auvergne, inherited his collection [including this picture] after his death, and that she sold the collection to Knoedler in 1929.
François Daulte. Auguste Renoir: Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint. Vol. 1, Figures. Lausanne, 1971, pp. 53, 416, no. 545, ill.
Elda Fezzi. L'opera completa di Renoir. [reprint ed., 1981]. Milan, 1972, p. 118, no. 634, ill.
François Daulte. Renoir. Garden City, N.Y., 1973, pp. 50–51, 54, fig. 1 (color detail), provides biographical information on the sitters; erroneously states that Renoir was "grossly underpaid" Fr 100 for this picture.
Barbara Ehrlich White. Renoir: His Life, Art, and Letters. New York, 1984, pp. 178, 184, ill. p. 182 (color), erroneously refers to the sitters as Mendès's stepdaughters.
Anne Distel in Renoir. Exh. cat., Hayward Gallery. [London], 1985, p. 26, states that Bernheim-Jeune sold the painting to Wagram in 1905.
Denis Rouart. Renoir. revised ed. (1st ed., 1954). New York, 1985, pp. 80–81, ill.
Colin B. Bailey in Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. Ed. Colin B. Bailey, Joseph J. Rishel, and Mark Rosenthal. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1991, pp. ix, 44–47, 156–57, ill. (color and black and white), notes that Renoir initiated the idea of this painting in his late April 1888 letter to Mendès [see Ref.] and illustrates the accompanying sketch of the composition; calls the price of Fr 500 a "prix d'ami" since Mendès was a friend and did not collect Impressionist pictures; remarks that it was painted quickly, with little reworking and compares its handling to "Bather" (sale, Sotheby's, New York, November 13, 1997, no. 120; D528); cites Fragonard's "The Music Lesson" of about 1765–72 (Musée du Louvre, Paris) as a possible source; comments that Renoir's "capacity for idealization and romance" obscures the "turbulent and highly unconventional ménage" of the sitters' parents, Mendès and Augusta Holmès; observes that the paperback novel on the piano refers to the literary world of their father.
Jérôme Coignard. "Le Salon de peinture de Mr. et Mrs. Annenberg." Beaux arts no. 92 (July–August 1991), pp. 66, 69, ill. (color).
Albert Kostenevich. Hidden Treasures Revealed: Impressionist Masterpieces and Other Important French Paintings Preserved by the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. Exh. cat.New York, 1995, p. 112.
Colin B. Bailey in Colin B. Bailey. Renoir's Portraits: Impressions of an Age. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. New Haven, 1997, pp. 5–6, 16, 18–20, 45 n. 38, p. 49 n. 185, p. 210, fig. 8 (color), states that it was probably completed in about two weeks; mentions this picture as an example of Renoir's attempt to adapt the idealized language of the "Great Bathers" of 1884–87 (Philadelphia Museum of Art) to the portraits of his clients' children.
Ira Berkow. "Jewels in the Desert." Art News 97 (May 1998), pp. 147, 149, ill. p. 145 (color, installation photo).
Christie's Impressionist & Nineteenth Century Art. Christie's, New York. May 12, 1999, p. 50, under no. 17, fig. 1 (color).
Gary Tinterow in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1998–1999." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 57 (Fall 1999), pp. 5, 47, ill. (color).
Gary Tinterow. "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2002–2003." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 61 (Fall 2003), pp. 34–35, ill. (color).
Colin B. Bailey in Masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. Ed. Susan Alyson Stein and Asher Ethan Miller. 4th rev. ed. [1st ed., 1989]. New York, 2009, pp. 127–35, no. 25, ill. (color), and ill. pp. viii, x (color, installation photos).
Guy-Patrice Dauberville and Michel Dauberville. Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles. Vol. 2, 1882–1894. Paris, 2009, pp. 171–72, no. 966, ill.
Augustin de Butler, ed. Écrits et propos sur l'art. By Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Paris, 2009, p. 59 n. 6, notes that it was so badly placed at the Salon of 1890 that Renoir gave up exhibiting his work at the official Salon thereafter.