A Waitress at Duval's Restaurant

Artist: Auguste Renoir (French, Limoges 1841–1919 Cagnes-sur-Mer)

Date: ca. 1875

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 39 1/2 x 28 1/8 in. (100.3 x 71.4 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Stephen C. Clark, 1960

Accession Number: 61.101.14


Renoir portrays a waitress who worked at one of several Parisian restaurants established by a butcher named Duval. An 1881 Baedeker guidebook described these "Établissements de Bouillon" 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. As he once said, "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."