Home > art, general, paintings > The Portrait and Story of Mademoiselle Irène Cahen d’Anvers

The Portrait and Story of Mademoiselle Irène Cahen d’Anvers

I am not entirely sure how old I was when I first noticed it hanging in my grandparents’ living room. Maybe three or four, or perhaps younger. Certainly not old enough to realize it wasn’t a real painting hanging there. It was a print of a painting on a piece of board bought at the supermarket down the street framed as if it were the actual painting. Not that it mattered. I was sucked in from the first moment.

Every trip that took me to my grandparents house as a child would find me sitting on the living room couch at my grandparents’ house studying the portrait. Over many visits I spent many hours taking in the portrait of little Irène, trying to figure out were the flowing mane of hair ended and the backdrop began, trying to decide whether it was a bow in her hair or a small fish (it’s a bow), or just taking in the little girl forever around my age (at the time) sitting there in her little blue dress, hands clasped in her lap, with a look on her face that says, “Please Mr. Renior, can I please get up now? This is awfully boring, I just want to PLAY.” Even as a teenager and young adult, it was the first thing I would look for upon entering my grandparents’ house.

My grandmother payed mind to the fact that I was always enamored with that portrait. She used to ask me what I was doing when look at it to hear whatever explanation I had that time for what I was studying. After my grandfather had died and she planned to move to a retirement community, she gave it to me without me ever asking for it. It hanged in my living room for a number of years, and is currently sitting in my office awaiting a new frame. Needless to say, this is the painting that first made me realize the power of art to draw one in. As such, it is still my favorite portrait, and I count Renoir as my favorite painter for it.

Some time ago while once again studying the portrait, at this point hanging in my living room, I realized I had never made an attempt to learn more about it’s subject.  I immediately went to my computer and began searching. I found …nothing.  Some time later, I started to find a little, and after a year or two a little more.  Eventually I managed to piece together enough for a few paragraphs.

Irène was born in 1872 and lived in Paris, where she would live at least until she was married.  Her father, a wealthy Jewish banker named Louis Raphael Cahen d’Anvers commissioned Pierre Auguste Renior for three portraits in 1880; one of each of his daughters.

At that time, Renior had been doing portraits for many of the Jewish families in Paris, and the Cahen family was one of the richest there was.  As such, Renoir did not negotiate a price before beginning his work.  Upon completing the portrait of Irène, the Cahens decided that they did not like it, and told Renior to paint Irène’s two younger sisters (Alice and Elisabeth) together. After he finished that portrait, the Lois Cahen paid Renoir a mere 1,500 francs for both paintings (far less than they were truly worth, even at that time), and to add insult to injury, hung them in his servant’s quarters. Renoir was furious.

At the age of 19, Irène married Moïse de Camondo.  Moïse was the last of a long line of Jewish bankers from the Ottoman empire, very wealthy in his own right. During their marriage, her portrait by Renoir hung in one of the Camondo’s hotels. Irène and Moïse had two children, Nissim and Béatrice during their short five year marriage before Irène converted to Catholicism and ran off with the Camondo’s stable man, Count Charles Sampieri in 1896. Irène was able to procure a divorce by giving Moïse full custody of their children, and Irène would marry Charles, becoming the Countess Irène Sampieri. The portrait would go back to Irène’s mother, Louise, during the divorce, and she in turn would give it to her granddaughter Béatrice sometime between 1910 and 1933.

Irène’s son (at this point estranged) would go on to become an aviator in the French Army during World War I. He was shot down in a dogfight in 1917, dying of his wounds a few days later.  Irène’s daughter Béatrice married Léon Reinach and had two children, Fanny and Bertrand. Moïse died in 1935, with his fortune largely going to his daughter and his mansion and art collection going to a foundation to set up a museum in honor of his son, the Musee Nissim de Comondo.

In 1939, the Nazis invaded France. Like many others, Béatrice and Léon opted to stay in Paris, believing that their wealth and status would protect them.  They were wrong, and in 1941 Béatrice, Léon and their children (along with Irène’s sister Elisabeth) were sent to Auschwitz, where they were all killed.  Irène, now separated from Charles was able to save herself by hiding behind her Italian last name and religion.  Her other sister, Alice, also survived the holocaust and lived until 1969 in Nice.

The now very expensive portrait was looted from the Reinach home in 1941 by the Reichsleiter Rosenberg Taskforce and essentially became the property of Herman Göring, and was potentially going to be used to exchange for other works of art. From here you see some conflicting accounts. Some say the portrait was in Göring’s personal collection. Some say Göring ceded it to a Swiss arms exporter named Emil Georg Bührle.  In both cases, they are wrong. In actuality, Göring traded the portrait for a Florentine Tondo to
Gustav Rochlitz in 1942.  In 1945, the Allies liberated the portrait, and it was sent to a collection point in Munich. It is likely that the rumors that Bührle had it in his personal collection were due to an attempt to paint him as a villian due to the fact that he exported arms to Germany and Italy on request of the Swiss government.

Late in 1946, the portrait began traveling in an exhibit with other liberated paintings entitled, “Masterpieces of French collections found in Germany and Switzerland”, where it was seen by Irène. She began lobbying to have it restored to her, and ultimately was successful in doing so as it’s last legal possession was that of her daughter, of whom Irène was the inheritor. Bored of it again by 1949, Irène would sell it to Emil Georg Bührle, who was just beginning to stock up on works by French impressionists.  Over the next few years, Irène gambled away or otherwise spent the money made on that portrait and the entire Camondo fortune in casinos in southern France by her death in 1963.

After the death of Emil Georg Bührle in 1956, the portrait was eventually given to the Foundation E.G. Bührle in Zurich where it is now on display.  I have not been to see it in person, but hope to one day. You can see it listed here: http://www.buehrle.ch/works_detail.php?lang=en&id_pic=62

  1. laurrainne robichaud
    October 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    After my visit to the Musee Nissim de Camondo,I too was intrigued by Irene Cahen d’Anvers.I could find very little information.I would love to know how she spent her life, particularly her last years-with whom did she spend time,how did she occupy her time? I wish there were more information.

    • lordjumper
      October 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      There is very little information about Irene, especially in English. I understand the book, “The Last of the Camondos” does talk about her a bit, but it’s in French, and I can not speak or read French, so I don’t have access to it.

      • laurrainne robichaud
        October 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm

        Thanks for the information.I do read and write french,so I think I’ll check out the book.

      • Lance Mann
        April 19, 2015 at 3:26 am

        My parents had thid hanging in their dinning room for 20 years and I have had it in my storage shed for 35 years. Its got to be worth something because its been in our family for atleast 55 years.

  2. Bo
    November 15, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    This is a very interesting piece, thank you for sharing. I am researching the Camando family history and like the others, found very little information on Irene. Luckily I can read French so ‘The Last of the Camondos’ is one source, but could you please tell me you have gotten your information from?

    • lordjumper
      November 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      I largely did Internet searches, starting with French wikipedia pages and the like, clicking on it’s sources and tracking them down. From there, simply searching for Irene and following the links around. I didn’t really copy any URLs as I was really mostly researching for my own interest, and started to share. You may be able to get more information contacting the Musée Nissim de Camondo. Their website is http://www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/

    • Helen Schwartz
      August 15, 2013 at 5:17 pm

      I’m also interested in the Camondo family. Would you care to compare information?

      • L. Robichaud
        August 16, 2013 at 12:48 am

        I understand that in her last years Irene did squander most of her fortune, and was certainly very eccentric. I’m still searching on line for more history. I did visit the Family Commando’s grave site in the cemetery at Montmartre. It was very poignant. They were the last of their line . Laurrainne

      • Ing. Ruben Camacho
        August 16, 2013 at 2:59 am

        Think anyone could be possible to find some other picture?

  3. March 22, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    ive had this print on my wall since i was 18 and i finally looked it up so atleast now i have the name and history thanks alot tjm in detroit mi

    • L. Robichaud
      March 23, 2013 at 1:44 am

      I wish we could find more about this very mysterious lady- the wife of Mr. Comondo. August Renoir does such a beautiful protrait of the young Irene d’Anvers.The Musee de Nissim de Comondo( the son of Irene) does not have alot of information about Irene. Laurrainne

  4. Ruben Camacho
    April 11, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Gracias por la historia. Hace 50 años en mis clases de pintura yo escogí esta pieza para copiarla. En ese entonces me enamoré de Irene, sobre todo de esa mirada que es una mezcla de ternura y nostalgia. La copia la tengo guardada y creo después de esta historia la colocaré en un marco. Gracias de nuevo.

    • lordjumper
      April 11, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      Está muy bienvenida!

  5. L. Robichaud
    April 11, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    I don’t habla inglese. I wish i knew exactly what you wrote.I get the basic message-you also are fascinated by this Lady.she did live a very interesting life, Laurrainne

  6. Shannyn Downey
    July 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this! I too grew up Irene, a framed print with the textured board, intended to look like a real painting, and I too have inherited “our girl” as she was commonly referred too. She is still in her original frame, and I know she was there when I was very little, she hung on the wall in the room at my grandparents when I was 5, and I suspect my grandmother bought her in London, pre-1947.
    I am thrilled to know her name, and her history, thanks so much!

  7. M. Tarshis
    August 28, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Thank you for all of the history about Irene. I found my painting of Irene, on a street curb with garbage, about 12 years ago. I drove by the garbage and immediately stopped. I knew that what I saw was something special, as I had taken art history classes at University. I pulled Irene out of the garbage, undamaged, and she has been with me ever since. My Irene, is similar to the comment posted above. She is on a textured board and framed, and there is a small brass name plate at the bottom. After reading about Irene and her family, I am more intrigued than ever, I too come from Jewish ancestry.

  8. Cynthia Calabress
    January 8, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    my mother had the same supermarket purchased painting in my sister’s bedroom. I admired it every time that I walked past it. this Renoir also sparked my love of art? It is my favorite for many reasons. thank you so much for the story behind the girl.

  9. Lynn Patten
    February 1, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    I just happened to be googling famous artists & viewing their works & came across Mlle Irene Cahen D’Anvers. I own a copy of this painting but never knew the artist. Excited about getting more information I was delighted to see the story behind the painting posted by Lordjumper. My copy also hung in my Grandparents house in their entryway, it too is on a board and framed like a real painting. My Grandmother got the copy because it reminded her of her daughter, my mother (also a redhead). It became the “joke” of the family that it was a portrait of Mom as a girl. I was also about 4 years old when I have my first memories of the painting and growing up I was very intrigued by the picture & I found myself staring at it when at my grandparents house. Upon their passing, my mother gave me the painting as I, like Lordjumper, loved it so much. It now hangs in the guest bedroom of my home. I thank you, Lordjumper for all the information on this piece of work. I love the fact that I now know the story behind a portrait that I love, and thank you for reminding me of those memories of my grandparents home.

  10. david maney
    February 22, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    I have a great copy I think of Mlle irene

  11. Anna
    April 5, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Hi what a lovely story. My mother also had a copy of this painting in our living room when we were children in the 1970’s and I often wondered who the young girl was. Thank you for sharing this information best wishes Anna

  12. heidi
    May 20, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Thank you for this story, my great grandparents also had this print in their home. I now have it hanging in my living room. Thank you, Heidi Davies

    • laurrainne robichaud
      May 20, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      It is truly amazing how many people know the picture but not the full story of Irene d”Anvers The end of Irene’s life is bitter sweet but fascinating, Laurrainne R.

  13. Shannon
    May 26, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    I as well have a copy of this picture and it hung on my wall as a child in my room and I have always kept it and wondered who she was and where this came from! I have no idea how or where it was purchased. Thank you for giving the mystery of her to life. I am so happy I have always kept it and now know her name. 05/26/2014

  14. Peter Krahn
    June 5, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    We received a print of Irene as a bonus for grocery purchases at Safeway in the late 1960s – did not know the name of the girl or painter (Renoir) Our daughter, born in 1969, recently asked about the whereabouts of this painting which was lost somewhere in the many family moves. I read the intriguing history of Irene and will purchase a print soon to replace the “lost” Irene. She will again grace the wall of our home prominently above the bed in our guest room.

    • Lynn Patten
      June 6, 2014 at 12:58 am

      Everyone seems to fall in love with this painting of Irene – I still find myself going into my guest bedroom to just stare as at her like I did as a child when she hung in my grandparents entry/stairway.

  15. Stacy
    June 12, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    I too grew up with this beautiful painting. My Mother bought it at Modell’s department store and hung it in my bedroom because it reminded her of me. It was framed like a real painting and I spent many hours looking at it, loving it and becoming a huge appreciator of Renoir. When the painting made an appearance in the movie “The Monuments Men” Mom and I talked about making a pilgrimage to Zurich one day to see the painting that means so much to us. Mom changed her mind about “one day”, we will be seeing the painting this summer! I am Jewish and after reading all about Irene’s life, this painting has even more significance for me. Interestingly, my husband’s family is from Paris. Thank you so much for all of this wonderful history on Irene and her family.

    • May 16, 2021 at 2:21 pm

      Funny you mentioned The Monuments Men as I’m watching it today snd the painting caught my eye. We have a painting painted by friend in family in her copying it. My daughter was a red head and it was given to her

  16. Marni
    July 21, 2014 at 12:33 am

    You have no idea how happy coming across your info. on this print has made me. I too have a copy of this & it too came from my grandparents home. It always hung at the top of my grandparents stairwell & it was the first thing I looked for when I went there. I can not say how long my grandmother had it as I can not ever remember it not being there. Was watching the movie Monuments Men when my husband noticed it on a wall & said “there is your picture of your red headed girl” (because that’s what I always called it), I have always loved this print!! Knowing the story behind it & that is was a supermarket special from long ago makes it all the more special. as my grandmother has since past away & I loved her dearly, I can now just imagine her shopping and seeing the picture thinking it was just so beautiful!!

    • laurrainne robichaud
      July 24, 2014 at 11:48 pm

      Irene was indeed an interesting and tragic figure. Wife of banker Mr. Commando. She ran off with an Italian “stable boy” spent all her money but lived a long life.It is difficult to find information about her later years. I think every one knows the painting but know very little about the pretty red head.

      • August 12, 2014 at 8:53 pm

        Count Sampieri was hardly a “stable boy.” He was an accomplished horseman who impressed Moise de Camondo enough that he hired him to manage his race and hunting horses. Unfortunately there is little information about the marriage to Sampieri except that they had a daughter who was nicknamed “Pussy” and they resided in Paris, although Sampieri did run of to Switzerland for a time. Most of the literature says Irene and Sampieri later divorced, although one source refers to Irene as his “widow.”

      • laurrainne robichaud
        August 12, 2014 at 9:15 pm

        did you notice the quotes around “stable boy” much of the expert literature does describe the Italian aristocrat as “stable boy” did not mean to cast aspersions on his character altho he did have an affair with a married woman.

  17. August 17, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Part of the problem is that accounts conflict. Some suggest that he was not wealthy, and hence his willingness to become the stable master for Moise de Camando. Irene received one million francs, essentially the return of her dowry, in the divorce. Whether that made her more attractive to Sampieri we do not know. In any event, she did divorce him in 1920 after seventeen years of marriage.

    • Bo
      January 2, 2020 at 3:12 pm

      I wonder how you found out that they got divorced? What sources gave you this information? I am very curious to know your answer!

      • lordjumper
        January 2, 2020 at 3:19 pm

        French Wikipedia which had it by way of the book The Last of the Camondos

  18. Carri
    September 12, 2014 at 3:20 am

    I too grew up with Mll Irene. She hung at the top of the stair case at my grandparents home where I grew up. I was fascinated with her. All the kids thought it was a painting of my mother and we all wondered why she had a “fish” in her hair :)
    Thank you so much for the information you gathered. It gives me great pleasure knowing more about her.
    I now have Mll Irene hanging at my home and often wondered what became of her. What she did during her life? What she looked like as a grown woman? Thank you again for the article.

  19. Joy
    November 21, 2014 at 6:58 am

    I totally thought it was a fish … I grew up with this haven’t seen it in years. Until last month walking through a antiuqe shop. I spotted that fish from a mile away … it took me home …

  20. Theresa Fells
    December 11, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    The original hangs at the Kunstmuseum in Zürich. It is quite small but one of the best of the Emil Bührle collection there.

  21. Lynn C. Simpson
    December 27, 2014 at 9:31 am

    I bought a copy of the same Portrait at a WiNN DIXIE grocery store for the low price of $5.00. My dad had built us a storage shed, and when I was about 11 or 12 we used the house in the summer as a playhouse. He lights hooked up out there and I had a little kitchen out there. He put a couch out there. My brother and I would take turns inviting friends over to spend the weekend and we’d sleep out there. We had black and white t.v’s and we would carry them out there and hook them up and even had a stereo hooked up out there. I took my copy of Mademoiselle Irehen Cahen d’Anvers and hung it on the wall in the house. The shed is still there but the picture is gone. Mom said she doesn’t know where it is. They have been married for 64 years and have lived in their since 1954/55. I would love to have another copy of it. I saw the portrait used as a prop in the movie Footloose with Kevin Bacon. They had it on his sisters bedroom wall. I would love to know how I can get a copy for a inexpensive price.

    • cynthia calabrese
      January 5, 2015 at 5:18 am

      I purchased a copy of the painting on the internet on an art site. I cannot remember what it was called yet if you spend a little time you should be able to find the painting and order one in a size and price suitable to your liking.

  22. michelle
    January 20, 2015 at 2:36 am

    This picture hung in my Father’s office and always intriged me throughout my childhood. When he passed away we moved and my mother sold the entire contents in our home. 20 some odd years later when I remarried I went to my in-laws house and lo and behold yet another copy hung in their home, it now hangs in our hallway. I would love to know how this portrait became so popular in homes across the US in the 50s-60s.

  23. Fran Eagen
    January 20, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    My Grandma had a copy too. We used to pretend it was me. I loved Irene’s long hair, and my middle name is Irene. Grandma gave it to me when I was setting up my first home. It still has its own place on my wall.

  24. Colleen
    March 4, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Thank you for writing the story of Irene. I acquired this from my grandmother’s estate and remember it hanging in her living room for years and years. When it was given to me as we were packing up her house, I joked with my family members that it could be a REAL Renoir painting! For years and several moves I have held on to the painting but never had it appraised. There is a pencil mark on the back of the wooden frame indicating that my grandma (or whomever she bought it from) paid $50 for it. Knowing how frugal my grandmother was, I assumed it MUST be real if she paid that kind of money. :) I had big aspirations of going on the Antique Road Show and finding out that my $50 painting is worth millions!! I even practiced my surprise face…LOL. Oh well, so hopes are a little dashed now that I read all of the comments above and saw all of the other readers that have the same painting as well. I do still like the portrait though and think of my grandmother when I look at it.

  25. Bearfan54
    March 21, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    I have tis painting in my house. I’m sure it is a copy but I noticed it in a scene in the movie The Monuments Men.

  26. July 27, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Early posts mention copies on board. My copy is on canvas in an old gold leaf frame. Is there a difference? And what a wonderful touching history.

    • lordjumper
      July 28, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      Throughout the 50s and 60s, many local supermarkets sold prints on cardboard from various impressionists’ paintings, Irene included. As for canvas, not sure if it’s not a print (that is, an actual painting), you likely own a reproduction someone did while either looking at a print or visiting the painting itself.

  27. Dawn
    December 16, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Enjoyed this. Thank you.

  28. Redhair
    March 9, 2016 at 3:10 am

    I too grew uo with this portrait hanging in my bedroom… I was intrigued by the story behind it…Thank you for sharing your research.

  29. Nancy Luthardt
    March 21, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    Love the story. I was given the same beautiful portrait from an old Italian that came from Italy in 1940. He said he brought it from Italy because he loved it so much. He received it from his parents. His whole family moved to the U.S. His brothers and sisters followed years later). The family moved across the alley from me and I knew them very well. One day, I noticed the portrait in the corner of his old wooden garage. He informed me that he no longer wanted it and gave it to me 4 years ago. He has since passed.

    The portrait is so beautiful and it’s on a board. The portrait also has a very strange looking design around the outer edges making it’s own frame. I took the photo to be appraised and they took several photo’s along with my name and address. I have no idea HOW the edge was made nor what it is made of to look like a wooden frame.

    Does anyone have anything on old wood like this?

    The portrait measures 2′ x 1.5′.

  30. Michele
    April 2, 2016 at 3:01 am

    We have two pictures exactly like this but they are both different? One is on a piece of wood – the other is in a frame – I wish I could add the pics here somehow.

  31. Darla
    May 12, 2016 at 1:00 am

    Thanks for all that info! I have been searching a long time.

  32. shelly stone
    June 19, 2016 at 4:06 am

    I too fell in love with the “red headed girl” that hung on the wall in my childhood home. It was a home of abuse, and she brought me peace. I took the painting when I was grown and it has always had a place in my home. I am THRILLED to know of others’ love for my red headed girl ♥

  33. Brandie
    July 2, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Love the story and comments! With many I this was at my grandma’s house. When she passed away we kept it since I love it so much. I tried to look for more info with many times with no luck until now. I also thought it was a “fish”. What made me start looking into it again was seeing it in a scene on Men’s of Monument movie. Does anyone now the cost of these copies that are 85-100 + yes old?

  34. Chris
    July 19, 2016 at 12:25 am

    Do you have any explanation why there are 2 of these paintings? One with red and one with darker hair.

    • lordjumper
      July 20, 2016 at 11:49 am

      The darker haired one is likely a copy by someone else. There is no indication that Renoir painted more than one.

  35. Jean
    August 7, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    I have a Mademoiselle Ire’ne Cahen D’ Anvers on cavas . I have had it for over 30 years. Would like someone to contact me about its value.

  36. heather stevens
    August 10, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    I have had this same experience of this painting in my Grandparents home. I admired her my whole life. Always wishing I had her hair. I adore that picture it comforts me in a haunting way. Being part of the ottomen empire myself through my great grandparents i am glad to know its history..

  37. anatshtang
  38. Catarina
    December 5, 2016 at 10:38 am

    I loved to read you text. My parents had this paiting first in their living room and then in my own room, where it stayed till i leave their home. It´s in my house now.

    January 17, 2017 at 1:18 am

    I had this grocery store print hanging in my bedroom. I adored this painting and also studied it often. I am now a impressionist painter it had a very large effect on me.

  40. January 27, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    This painting also had touched my life as well. It came as a reproduction that my mother brought home from the grocery store, along with many others. But it was this one that caught my eye.
    A friend of mine send me this write up of yours after reading my memoir and googling to find a picture of the painting. I love the research. The history of the girl, the painting.
    Most of all I loved that another little girl out there was also spellbound by this picture.
    Wondering if there are more of “us” out there?
    My book is “FLOATING in SALTWATER”

  41. Regina Vey
    April 5, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    I bought a home a few years back and found this painting in a closet. I immediately loved it because my youngest daughter is also a beautiful red headed girl. The owner of the house no longer wanted it. It’s oil and very nicely framed.. I have no idea if it’s worth anything of any amount but I’m thankful for the information that’s been shared here. Thank you

  42. Steven
    April 11, 2017 at 2:02 am

    A reprint of this painting was in my parents house (1963-2015) and my kids had a similar experience with it as you describe. I still have the framed reprint. My oldest found it in an Irish Pub in Denver, Colorado a few days ago and it prompted a need to solve the mystery of the painting. Thank you so much for your research noted herein. Well done!

  43. May 8, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    I took a friend to a giveaway place today and she spied this immediately as something of value, in a sense, at least; I didn’t even notice it, but took a pic and told her I’d come home and google it; wasn’t even really thinking of the story, but this has been fascinating, but I, too, wonder if it has any monetary value – how many are out there? this one, too, appears to be on the textured board; I’d never known of anything like that; I mean I knew it wasn’t the original but it does feel like a painting being done that way; I’d never thought about how they did copies before they could make prints, until not long ago with a similar situation with a da Vinci, that there would be actual other people actually painting the copies, kinda like the people who used to write books before the printing press

  44. Tatton
    July 21, 2017 at 2:01 am

    Somehow my family wound up with the same kind of framed print when I was a kid. I thought I was the only one captivated by her. I slept with the picture on the wall beside and stared at it as I fell asleep. I have always been attracted to redheads and I think it may have been because of this painting.
    Thank you for sharing knowledge of her.

  45. tom
    August 15, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Thank you so much for sharing. I couldn’t find this-quality information about Irene and the portrait. I have one question. Just let me ask you that when she was bored first time for her portrait…? This comes from the sentence ; “Bored of it again by 1949, Irène would sell it to Emil Georg Bührle”, in the second paragraph from the last.

    • lordjumper
      August 15, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Bored is my own word. Irène’s father did not like the work, and he likely passed that feeling on to his children, as they were very young at the time. My thought was that the feelings likely stayed with her through her life, and in her later years, living a very bourgeois lifestyle and gambling away her possessions in general, she was likely to have looked at it and decided the money was worth more to her than the painting. I thought of it more as being like a child, bored with a toy and deciding to sell it at a garage sale; merely on a larger scale.

  46. Steve McNamara
    October 8, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    I also have a (copy) on board and framed. Anyone have any idea what one is worth?

    • lordjumper
      October 8, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      I know that many, such as the one I have on textured cardboard, sold in supermarkets throughout the United States, and aren’t really worth anything. Sort of a slightly better than a poster quality. I can’t speak for the one you have.

    October 15, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    cool to know about her life, quite a soap opera! Are there any photos of her?

    • lordjumper
      October 16, 2017 at 12:07 am

      Not that I am aware of.

  48. October 27, 2017 at 11:14 am

    In 1968 I was mesmerized by a print of Irene as she was displayed with other inexpensive all art on the terrace of my college student union. She hung in all my homes for 40 years until the print was torn in the last move. In 1970 my daughter looked like Irene, so much that her playmates commented. It was nice to reconnect to memories. Thank you for the research.

  49. Cam
    September 23, 2018 at 1:48 am

    Very interesting article…thank you for sharing!

  50. jillarlene
    May 15, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    So, even “supermarket art” can touch us! Thank you so much for this fascinating story. We were wondering about Irène — who she was, what became of her, if she survived the war — after going to the Camondo museum in Paris.

  51. Mike
    May 24, 2019 at 3:35 am

    My grandmother had the same print hanging in her home for as long as I can remember. I was born in 68 so I imagine she acquired it around the same time as yours. It always fascinated me as well and I searched for information on it later on after seeing it prominently featured in the farm house scene in the movie Monuments Men. This was after she passed and the print went missing. Thank you for sharing more of the story behind it which filled in the holes of who what where and why. The painting always reminded me of my younger sister who had a striking resemblance to Irène.

  52. Tammie
    July 2, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    I also have a copy…autographed at the top right corner…Are the “others” signed the same as well? And no one has replied as to the value of one of these prints? Anyone know or have an idea?

  53. Lynn C.Simpson
    September 2, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    I bought a copy of this painting in a WINN DIXIE GROCERY store when I was about 12/13 years old for about 5 or 7 dollars. And it hung on a wall in a playhouse that we had in my back yard and I think my dad took it down and threw it away. He’s been gone for almost 4 years and I asked my mom if she knew where it was and she said she didn’t know. I’m 58 now. WOuld love to get a copy of it again.

  54. George
    December 10, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Wonderful Story. I’ve had that print many years and often wondered about it. Thanks for sharing your great research.
    George. M. Camp

  55. May 27, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    Thank you for this bit of history. I have always been intrigued by this portrait. My mother had a print of it in her bedroom. Before she died, she gave it to me. She told me that is reminded her of me at this age. My husband once saw it hanging on the wall and asked me if it was a picture of me as a child. I told him that it was not; however, I was amazed that he also thought it was me. Who knows, maybe we are distantly related. My brother’s yDNA primary population is French. Thank you!

  56. Kanak
    June 19, 2020 at 4:43 am

    Whose here after Shane Dawson’s new video?

    • Margot
      June 19, 2020 at 6:00 pm


  57. Margot
    June 19, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    anyone else here from Shane Dawson?

  58. May 16, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    My daughters godmother’s friend painted a copy of this young red haired girl and as my daughter is a redhead it was given to her after her death. So interesting to read of its history as I’ve always liked the painting.

  59. Kathleen Mickael
    September 21, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    Name is kat I’m from the us I have these paintings in my hand my dad was I’m Germany and places like that I’ve had these a very long time

  60. Sonny Whittaker
    December 13, 2021 at 12:49 am

    This is crazy because the same thing happened to me at my grandmother’s house only the print was in her bedroom I’d spend hours just fixated on it

  1. June 30, 2019 at 3:54 pm

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