Lower right: Renoir
Ambroise Vollard (b. 1867 - d. 1939), Paris; 1939, possibly by descent to his brother, Lucian, and sold to Martin Fabiani, Paris [see note 1]. Himan Brown (b. 1910), New York. 1958, John Boksenbom (b. 1909 - d. 1998), East Orange, N.J. By 1973, Dr. Harold Tannenbaum (b. 1913 - d. 1989) and Mrs. Tannenbaum, Brookline, Mass.; 1973, gift of Dr. and Mrs. Harold S. Tannenbaum to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 22, 1972) NOTES:  John Boksenbom had the painting appraised on August 22, 1958; attached to the appraisal are notes suggesting that the painting had been in the collection of Himan Brown, New York, and prior to that, with Ambroise Vollard, Paris and the Fabiani Gallery, Paris. Vollard's estate was divided between his brother, Lucian, and his friend, Mme. de Galea. Lucian sold much of his share of the collection -- including 429 paintings, drawings, and watercolors by Renoir -- to the dealer Martin Fabiani. When Fabiani attempted to ship the pictures to the United States via Bermuda, they were considered suspect due to their country of origin (in 1940 France came under German military occupation). They were seized, held in Canada, and released to Fabiani on May 30, 1949. Meanwhile, the city of Paris, to which Vollard had bequeathed four paintings for the Petit Palais, claimed it had some rights to the rest of the collection as well, and brought action against the Vollard estate. In 1949, the French courts decided in favor of the Vollard heirs, ensuring that Fabiani was the legal owner of the pictures in his possession. See Lynn H. Nicholas, "The Rape of Europa" (New York, 1994), pp. 92-93, 425, on the problem of the Vollard estate and "Paintings from the Vollard Collection" (exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1950), p. 4 on the outcome of the legal dispute. Also see Maryline Assante di Panzillo, "The Dispersal of the Vollard Estate," in Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde, ed. Rebecca A. Rabinow (exh. cat., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2006), pp. 259-262. The descriptions of the Renoir paintings shipped by Fabiani are too general to allow for a definite identification of any one of them with the MFA painting; therefore, it cannot be established whether the "Portrait of a Young Child" was among the group of objects sent to Bermuda and held in Canada.
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Harold S. Tannenbaum