• Impressionist Modern Day Sale auction at Christies

    Sale 2217

    Impressionist Modern Day Sale

    4 November 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 248

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)

    Compotier de fruits

    Price Realised  

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
    Compotier de fruits
    signed 'Renoir.' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    12¾ x 14½ in. (32.4 x 36.8 cm.)
    Painted circa 1890


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    This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue critique of Pierre-Auguste Renoir being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute, as established from the archives of François Daulte, Durand-Ruel, Venturi, Vollard and Wildenstein.

    This work will be included in volume III or subsequent volumes of the Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles de Renoir being prepared by Guy-Patrice and Michel Dauberville published by Bernheim-Jeune.

    Still-life occupies a prominent position in Renoir's work from the early 1880s onward. Among the most 'academic' of the Impressionists--a position he shared with Paul Cézanne, another devotee of the still-life subject--Renoir is frequently remembered as a painter of the female figure. Although he recommended to Edouard Manet's niece Julie to paint still-life "in order to teach yourself to paint quickly" (quoted in J. Manet, Journal, 1893-1899, Paris, no date, p. 190), the numerous works, often elaborate and ambitious, which Renoir executed in this genre over the course of his career attest to his sustained interest in still-life as an end in itself. Indeed, it was in his still-life compositions that Renoir pursued some of his most searching investigations of the effects of light and color on objects and surfaces.

    As with Cézanne, the masters of French 18th century painting exerted a strong pull on Renoir. While his figure pictures looked towards Watteau and Boucher, his still-lifes found their inspiration in Chardin's unique vision. Discussing Renoir's pictorial dialogue with Chardin, Charles Sterling has rendered a statement of Renoir's achievement in still-life which could well describe the present painting: "Nurtured on the traditions of 18th century French painting, Renoir made no attempt to energize his compositions, as Monet did, but carried on the serene simplicity of Chardin... Pale shadows, light as a breath of air, faintly ripple across the perishable jewel of a ripe fruit. Renoir reconciles extreme discretion with extreme richness, and his full-bodied density is made up, it would seem, of coloured air. This is a lyrical idiom hitherto unknown in still life, even in those of Chardin. Between these objects and us there floats a luminous haze through which we distinguish them, tenderly united in a subdued shimmer of light" (Still Life in Painting from Antiquity to the Present Time, Paris, 1959, p. 100).

    Provenance

    (possibly) Dikran Kelekian, New York.
    French Art Galleries, Inc., New York.
    Dr. Robert E. Eisner, Great Neck, New York (acquired from the above, February 1942).
    By descent from the above to the present owner.


    Pre-Lot Text

    Property from the Estate of Gabrielle Zomber


    Literature

    A. Vollard, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Tableaux, Pastels et Dessins, Paris, 1918, vol. II, p. 35 (illustrated).


    Exhibited

    London, The Lefevre Gallery (Alex. Reid & Lefevre, Ltd.), Renoir, June 1935, no. 26 (dated 1900).
    New York, Bignou Gallery, Renoir, December 1935, no. 9 (dated 1900).
    New York, Arnold Seligmann-Helft Galleries, French Still Life from Chardin to Cézanne, Loan exhibition for the benefit of the Quaker Emergency Service, October-November 1947.