Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919)
Oil on canvas
39 1/2 x 28 1/8 in. (100.3 x 71.4 cm)
Bequest of Stephen C. Clark, 1960 (61.101.14)
In this painting, Renoir portrays a waitress who worked at one of several Parisian restaurants established by a butcher named Duval. These "établissements de Bouillon" were described in an 1881 Baedeker guidebook as offering a limited and affordable menu to patrons "waited on by women, soberly garbed, and not unlike sisters of charity." Renoir imparted to his comely model an unaffected grace, and, as he once explained in a different context, "I like painting best when it looks eternal without boasting about it: an everyday eternity, revealed on the street corner: a servant-girl pausing a moment as she scours a saucepan, and becoming a Juno on Olympus."