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    Sale 7702

    Impressionist/Modern, Day Sale

    5 February 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 326

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)


    Price Realised  


    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
    signed 'Renoir.' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    16 3/8 x 12¾ in. (41.6 x 32.3 cm.)

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    This painting will be included in the forthcoming Renoir catalogue critique being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute and established from the archive funds of François Daulte, Durand-Ruel, Venturi, Vollard and Wildenstein.

    We are grateful to Guy-Patrice and Michel Dauberville for confirming that this painting is included in their Bernheim-Jeune archives as an authentic work.

    The present work belongs stylistically and thematically to a group of small but exquisitely executed three-quarter or full length standing bathers which Renoir painted in the 1880s (see Daulte nos. 520, 576, 578). With their legs often clad in drapery, they are set against an indistinct landscape of feathered brushstrokes in luminous tones of yellows, blues, greens and browns. Abandoning natural landscape elements in favour of a general, non-specific setting, the backgrounds of these works contrast the strongly delineated figure and mark Renoir's move away from the highly structured compositions of the mid-1880s and his return to a freer and more varied Impressionist brushstroke.

    Renoir had travelled to Italy in 1881 and had been greatly inspired by the work of old masters such as Ingres and Raphael. This led to a renewed interest in the nude, a motif he had all but abandoned in the 1870s. The subject of bathers has a long lineage, and Renoir had become deeply interested in tradition and artistic precedents; as well as attempting to rival the old masters in establishing his place in the history of art, Renoir was also deeply influenced by both Courbet's and Cézanne's treatment of the motif. This interest culminated in the monumental Baigneuses of 1887 (Daulte 514, Philadelphia Museum of Art), cast in Renoir's fully Ingresque style, in which he began to work in 1885. The figures in that painting have very clear outlines, contrasting sharply with the more fluid, although still representational, background. The present work shows a similar separation of figure and ground, although the sense of space is less defined and the background is much less specific than that of Philadelphia picture.

    'Renoir's woman comes from a primitive dreamland; she is an artless, wild creature, blooming in perfumed scrub... She is luxuriant, firm, healthy and naive woman with a powerful body... she is a gentle being, like the women of Tahiti, born in a tropical climate where vice is known as shame, and where entire ingenuousness is a guarantee against all indecency. One cannot but be astonished at this mixture of "Japonism", savagism and eighteenth century taste' (C. Mauclair, Impressionists, London, 1903, pp. 16-18).

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Galerie Ambroise Vollard, Paris (no. 5159).
    Jos. Hessel, Paris, 13 July 1916.
    Prince de Wagram.
    Galerie Druet, Paris (no. 8694).
    Emil and Alma Staub-Terlinden, Männedorf, by whom acquired from the above on 4 October 1916 (CHF 20,050), and thence by descent to the present owners.

    Pre-Lot Text



    A. Vollard, Tableaux, Pastels & Dessins de Pierre-Auguste Renoir, vol. I, Paris, 1918, no. 486 (illustrated p. 122).
    'La peinture française du XIXe siècle en Suisse', in La gazette des beaux-arts et beaux-arts, no. 101, p. 48.
    P. Baumgartner, 'Geschichte der Villa Alma in Männedorf', in Zürcher Denkmalpflege, no. 11, 1983-1986, p. 538 (illustrated).


    Winterthur, Kunstmuseum, Ausstellung Französischer Malerei, 1916, no. 133.
    Rome, Complesso del Vittoriano, Renoir, La maturità tra classico e moderno, 2008, no. 57 (illustrated pp. 236-7).