Albert Cahen d'Anvers

Object Details


Albert Cahen d'Anvers


Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841 - 1919)




France (Place created)




Oil on canvas


80 x 63.8 cm (31 1/2 x 25 1/8 in.)

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir depicted the self-assured composer Albert Cahen d'Anvers, a former pupil of César Franck, nonchalantly smoking a cigarette at a friend's home. Traditionally, portraits of men were somber, but Renoir combined decorativeness with fidelity to his sitter's appearance. Facial hair was regarded as a powerful indicator of male sexuality, and Renoir shows Cahen d'Anvers's curled mustache echoing the wallpaper's curves, his ruffled red hair referring to the potted plant's feathery leaves. Cahen d'Anvers's authority and status are suggested through his alert, commanding gaze and details such as his elaborate cigarette holder and cravat.

Renoir hoped that success in portraiture would lead to success in the wider potential market attracted by the Salon. Twenty years into his career, he had become so disenchanted with Impressionism that he called the movement a "blind alley." He modified his style, combining the loose, painterly effects of early works such as La Promenadewith Renaissance painting's firm contours and weighty forms. He began receiving portrait commissions, often from wealthy Jewish patrons. Only a year after making this portrait, however, his uncertainty about achieving his aims through portraiture and his increasing anti-Semitism meant that portraiture no longer appeared so promising to him.

1881 - probably 1903

Albert Cahen d'Anvers, 1846 - 1903, commissioned from the artist, 1881; probably by inheritance to his nephew, Hubert Cahen d'Anvers, 1903.

probably 1903 -

Hubert Cahen d'Anvers

Dr. Joseph Steegman (Zürich, Switzerland)

by 1971

Galerie Beyeler (Basel, Switzerland)

Private Collection (Geneva, Switzerland)

- 1988

Private Collection (Switzerland), sold through Galerie Beyeler to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988.

Renoir. Rétrospective Pierre-Auguste Renoir (October 12, 1971 to February 6, 1972) (Cat. 14)
  • Seibu Galleries (Tokyo), October 12 to November 24, 1971
  • Cultural Centre (Fukuoka), December 8 to December 26, 1971
  • Hyogo Prefecture Museum of Modern Art (Kobe), January 5 to February 6, 1972
Renoir: Master Impressionist (July 30 to October 30, 1994) (Cat. 18)
  • Queensland Art Gallery, (South Brisbane), July 30 to September 11, 1994
  • National Gallery of Victoria, (Melbourne), September 18 to October 30, 1994
Renoir's Portraits: Impressions of an Age (February 8 to April 26, 1998) (Cat. 37)
  • Kimbell Art Museum, (Fort Worth), February 8 to April 26, 1998
Faces of Impressionism: Portraits from American Collections (October 10, 1999 to July 30, 2000) (Cat. 58)
  • The Baltimore Museum of Art, (Baltimore), October 10, 1999 to January 30, 2000
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, March 25 to May 7, 2000
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art, (Cleveland), May 28 to July 30, 2000
Related Media
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    Audio: Portrait of Albert Cahen d'Anvers