Grand Canal, Venice
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919)
54 x 65.1 cm (21 1/4 x 25 5/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Oil on canvas
Polly B. and Richard D. Hill Gallery (Gallery 253)
When Renoir’s Venetian pictures were first exhibited, one critic called them “the most outrageous series of ferocious daubs that any slanderer of Venice could possibly imagine.” They constituted a radical departure from traditional Venetian vedute—sober view paintings emphasizing the city’s famous monuments. Barely recognizable as the stretch of canal between the Ca’ Foscari palace and the Rialto Bridge, Renoir’s picture dissolves stone façades into a lacy pattern of color no more material than water or clouds.
Lower right: Renoir. 81.
May 12, 1882, sold by the artist to Durand-Ruel, Paris (stock no. 2110) [see note 1]; from Durand-Ruel, Paris to Durand-Ruel, New York (stock no. 2350); July 5, 1889, sold by Durand-Ruel to Alexander Cochrane (b. 1840 - d. 1919), Boston; 1919, bequest of Alexander Cochrane to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 3, 1919)
 The provenance was provided in a letter from Durand-Ruel, Paris to the MFA (February 20, 1962; in MFA curatorial file).
Bequest of Alexander Cochrane