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    Sale 1995

    Impressionist And Modern Art Day Sale

    7 May 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 302

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)

    Nu avec serviette de bain

    Price Realised  


    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
    Nu avec serviette de bain
    signed 'Renoir.' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    10¾ x 6¾ in. (27.3 x 17.1 cm.)
    Painted circa 1900

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    Renoir had occasionally painted nude bathers in the early years of his career, but once he returned from his tour of Italy in 1881, this theme would become a constant preoccupation in his oeuvre over the remaining three decades of his life. In search of an idealized classicizing form, Renoir was particularly struck by Raphael's frescoes in Rome and the Pompeian frescoes at the Museo Nazionale in Naples. Renoir made clear his own view of classicism: "The simplest themes are the eternal ones. A nude woman is Venus or Nini [Lopez, one of Renoir's favorite models], whether she is emerging from the waves of the sea or rising from her bed. Our imagination can conceive of nothing better" (quoted in Renoir, exh. cat., Kunsthalle, Tübingen, 1996, p. 265). Not only was Renoir's interest in painting nudes inspired by the French and Italian masters such as Raphael and Ingres but he was also eager to attract commercial success similar to Bougereau and Gérôme the leading academic painters of the day, whose smoothly painted nudes were the mainstay of the Salon.

    In the present work, the form of the model is suggested by soft, diffused layers of fleshy colors, with rosy tints to her cheeks and contours, as Renoir sought to "make the flesh on my canvas live and quiver." The nude woman's body is viewed in profile as she dries off after bathing, creating a sinuous verticality that fills the canvas.

    Special Notice

    No sales tax is due on the purchase price of this lot if it is picked up or delivered in the State of New York.


    Henri Matisse, Paris.
    Pierre Matisse, New York (by descent from the above).
    Acquired from the above by the present owner.

    Saleroom Notice

    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.

    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.

    Pre-Lot Text


    Post Lot Text

    *This lot may be tax exempt from the sale tax as set forth in the Sales Tax Notice at the back of the catalogue.