The Dancer was one of 7 works Renoir exhibited at the first Impressionist show in 1874.
One critic wrote, “What a pity…that the painter, who has a certain understanding of color, doesn’t draw better; his dancer’s legs are as cottony as the gauze of her skirts.”
The painting was a part of the Widener Collection. Joseph Widener was a founding benefactor of the NGA. He donated more than 2,000 works to the museum in 1939.