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    Sale 1901

    Impressionist And Modern Art Day Sale

    7 November 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 306

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)

    Femme en bleu

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
    Femme en bleu
    signed 'Renoir' (upper left)
    oil on canvas
    13 x 10¾ in. (33 x 27.2 cm.)


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    This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue critique of Pierre-Auguste Renoir being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute established from the archives of Fran/dcois 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.

    Renoir's major preoccupation in the 1900s was painting voluptuous, ethereal and sumptuous nudes. The artist delighted in the finite details: the flow of diaphanous drapery, the accoutrements of his sitters' costumes, and the range of colors created from light and shadow on women's bare skin.

    While the model in the present painting has not been identified, this work belongs to a group of paintings portraying corpulent young models loosely clothed, often in semi-transparent materials, with their blouses either open, or as in the present work, with the shoulder strap having slipped off to slightly reveal her breast. The composition is simple, the warm hues of the sitter are set against the cooler background, and clear contrasts are made between her dark hair and the highlights on her blouse and skin. Her hair is loosely tied back at the nape of her neck, a few seductive tendrils framing her face and suggesting the languid nature of the setting. While the three-quarter pose of the model and the studio scenery are rather traditional, the stark revelation of her breast and her relaxed and introspective gaze present an intimacy and gentleness that is unrivaled in portraiture from this period. As with other works in this sequence, her costume does not belong to a specific time or place, it is deliberately timeless. Renoir often exaggerated the plumpness of his models, many of whom commented that they had difficultly recognizing themselves in his portraits. This deliberate and preferred stylization of the female body, in which Renoir sought to merge the palpable physicality of living flesh with the idealization of form, helped the artist achieve a timelessly majestic and monumental classicism in his portraits of women. Barbara E. While has aptly characterized his quest: "The quintessence of beauty for him was still sensuousness, best expressed through plump young women who are the link between the cycle of life and artistic creativity" (in Renoir, His Life, Art and Letters, New York, 1984, p. 250).

    Provenance

    Maurice Gangnat, Paris; sale, Drouot, Paris, 24-25 June 1925, lot 55.
    Delaronce, Paris.
    Anon. sale, Paris, Drouot, 19 June 1989, lot 70.
    Acquired by the present owner circa 1990.


    Saleroom Notice

    Please note the amended provenance for this lot:
    Maurice Gangnat, Paris; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 24-25 June 1925, lot 55.
    Delaronce, Paris.
    Anon. sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 19 June 1989, lot 70.
    Acquired by the present owner, circa 1990.

    Please note the additional literature for this lot:
    G. Riviere, Renoir et ses amis, Paris, 1921, p. 147.

    Please note the additional exhibition history for this lot:
    Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Renoir, July-September 1955, no. 17.
    Kunsthalle Dusseldorf, Renoir, January-April 1956, no. 17.
    Vevey, Renoir, July-September 1956, no. 87.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED COLLECTION


    Literature

    G. Riviere, Renoir et ses amis, Paris, 1921, p. 147.


    Exhibited

    Paris, Durand-Ruel, Renoir, July-September 1955, no. 17.
    Dusseldorf, Kunsthalle, Renoir, January-April 1956, no. 17.
    Vevey, Renoir, July-September 1956, no. 87.