Renoir was very fond of representing two young girls enjoying the same pastime together. This was one of his favourite subjects in the 1890s. He repeated the motifs of young girls a number of times in various poses - holding a letter, at the piano, sleeping, picking flowers - and often used the same models. This is the case for these two little girls. Here he depicts a young blond-haired girl on the left, shown in profile, her chin raised, in conversation with a young girl standing beside her on the right. This brown-haired girl is shown almost full-face, her head tilted to one side wearing a hat.
The demeanour and faces of the two girls can be seen in several of Renoir's canvases, as can the green curtain in the background. This painting was produced around the same time as Jeunes filles au piano [Young Girls at the Piano], also conserved at the Musée de l'Orangerie. The models are most likely the same in both paintings.
Here Renoir demonstrates a fondness for a certain type of female: a face with almond-shaped eyes, a small nose, and cheeks that have not yet lost their roundness, which he paints in sharp focus. All of this points to the influence of the smooth portraits of Jean-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867).
Provenance : Abbé Gauguin; M. G. sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 6 May 1901, no. 12; M. Léclanché; Henri Cannone sale, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 18 February 1939, no. 43; sold to Domenica Walter.