• Impressionist/Modern Works on  auction at Christies

    Sale 7832

    Impressionist/Modern Works on Paper

    3 February 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 295

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)

    Étude pour La danse à la campagne

    Price Realised  


    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
    Étude pour La danse à la campagne
    signed with the initial 'R' (lower right)
    charcoal on paper
    19 3/8 x 11 5/8 in. (49.2 x 29.6 cm.)
    Executed in 1882-1883

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    This drawing is a preparatory study for La Danse à la campagne (fig. 1; Wildenstein no. 999; Musée d'Orsay, Paris), one of three large-scale paintings of dancing couples that Renoir painted in 1882-1883 at the request of Paul Durand-Ruel and which would be presented the same year at the retrospective organized for him by the famous art dealer. Together with La Danse à la ville (Wildenstein no. 1000; Musée d'Orsay, Paris) and La Danse à Bougival (Wildenstein no. 1001; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), these canvases represent Renoir's last treatment on a grand-scale of lighthearted social recreation and the series of preparatory drawings for the painting, which includes examples in the Musée du Louvre and Yale University Art Gallery, reveal Renoir's departure from the Impressionist practice of working directly on the canvas. Furthermore these drawings display the influence of the artist's recent trip to Italy in 1881, where the classical painting he had seen inspired him to introduce the more solid forms and precise contours that appear in the danse paintings and their related studies.

    La Danse à la campagne depicts a young middle-class couple dancing at Chatou, the western suburb of Paris that was also the setting for the artist's famous scenes of boating and other revelry, such as La Grenouillère, 1869 (Wildenstein no. 321; Sammlung Oskar Reinhart Am Römerholz, Winterthur). In contrast to the affectionate embrace, casual dress, and glance directed toward the viewer seen here, La danse à la ville depicts a more sedately refined scene of upper-class figures in evening dress. For this reason, the two canvases are sometimes referred to as Panneaux de la danse: l'hiver et l'été, indicating a pair of works that respectively depict a scene of typical bourgeois courtship during the social season, and the more easygoing pleasures of summer leisure. While Renoir's friend and fellow artist Paul Lhote served as the model for both male dancers, a contrast is also detectable in the different physiques of the two female dancers: Suzanne Valadon inspired the slim, sophisticated dancer in La danse à la ville, whilst the amply-curved country maid who smiles brightly at the viewer in this study - modelled by none other than Aline Charigot, the future Madame Renoir - invites the observer to join in this joyful moment.

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    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Henry P. McIlhenny, Philadelphia, until 1962.
    Private collection, U.S.A., by whom acquired circa 1962; sale, Sotheby's, London, 21 June 2005, lot 105.
    Waterhouse & Dodd, London.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2008.

    Pre-Lot Text



    J. Rewald, Renoir Drawings, New York, 1946, no. 13.
    J. Leymarie, Les pastels, dessins et aquarelles de Renoir, Paris, 1953, no. 10.
    E. Fezzi, L'opera completa di Renoir nel periodo impressionista 1869-1883, Milan, 1972, no. 556E (illustrated p. 114).
    G.-P. & M. Dauberville, Renoir, Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, vol. II, Paris, 2009, no. 1468 (illustrated p. 490).


    Cambridge, MA, Fogg Art Museum, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture from Collections of the Members of the Class of 1933, 1958, no. 75.