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Renoir's Girl with a Watering Can was painted as an oil on canvas in 1876. Painted in what is considered a more "mature impressionistic" style, Renoir's delightful image of a young girl in a garden now hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington and is one of the most popular paintings there.
According to the Washington Times, more than 4,500 postcards of this particular painting are bought as souvenirs from the gallery shop every year. The painting has even inspired a children's story by the same name.
Renoir was among the group of thirty independent painters who exhibited their work in an exhibition in 1874. Their style of painting, later termed "Impressionist", appeared quite shocking at the time as it was very different in terms of both style and subject matter.
Their first exhibition attracted a lot of notoriety and few sales. Possibly as a need to create more saleable items and earn an income, Renoir began to include more portraits in his work, particularly of women and young girls which were popular subjects at that time.
Girl with a Watering Can features a young girl, aged about 6, standing in a garden and gazing out to the right of the picture. She has been described as "doll-like" with bright blue eyes, rosy cheeks. The girl wears a bright red ribbon in her curly blonde hair. She is dressed in a blue dress and boots. The dress has rather striking, large buttons down the front and is edged in an ornate white/grey pattern.
In her right hand she holds a watering can and in her left hand she holds some flowers. Behind her is a beautiful garden which appears to be in full bloom. Many people have speculated that Renoir painted this in Monet's garden at Argenteuil and that the girl might be the daughter of a family friend and is named Mademoiselle Leclere.
The picture appears to capture the joy and innocence of the young girl in the beautiful garden and appeals to the viewer's senses and imagination. The beautiful colours of the original painting were bright and often described as "prismatic", created by Renoir's delicate brushstrokes.
Girl with a Watering Can is a enchanting image which continues to captivate viewers with a charm and innocence that only Renoir could create.