Algerian Girl

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919)


50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

Not On View





Renoir traveled to the French colony of Algeria twice in 1881, seeking the dazzling light and exotic subject matter made famous (and marketable) by Eugène Delacroix, a great Romantic painter, some fifty years before. Frustrated by the reluctance of Muslim women to pose for him, Renoir often hired Pieds-Noirs—French nationals living in Algeria—to pose as models, dressing them in native costumes and darkening their hair with his brush.


Lower right: Renoir 81


May 22, 1882, sold by the artist to Durand-Ruel, Paris; from Durand-Ruel, Paris, to Durand-Ruel, New York; October 20, 1913, sold by Durand-Ruel, New York to Hannah Marcy Edwards (d. 1929), Boston; 1929, by inheritance to her sister, Grace M. Edwards (d. 1938), Boston; 1939, bequest of Hannah Marcy Edwards to the MFA [see note 1]. (Accession Date: October 11, 1939)

[1] Siblings Robert (d. 1924), Hannah (d. 1929), and Grace (d. 1938) Edwards were each collectors of art, who seemed to have had joint ownership of the objects in their possession. When Robert died, he bequeathed his collection to the MFA in memory of their mother, Juliana Cheney Edwards. In 1925, after his death, part of his collection was acquired by the Museum, and the remainder went to his sisters, with the understanding that the objects would ultimately be left to the MFA in the collection begun in memory of their mother. The collections of Hannah and Grace were left to the MFA in 1939, following Grace's death. It is not always possible to determine exactly which paintings each sibling had owned.

Credit Line

Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection