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Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)

Paysage à Cagnes

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Paysage à Cagnes
signed 'Renoir' (lower right)
oil on canvas
18 3/8 x 22 in. (46.6 x 55.9 cm.)
Siegfried Oestreich, Montreal (acquired circa 1920).
By descent from the above to the present owner, circa 1955.

Lot Essay

In 1907, Renoir and his family settled in Cagnes, having spent each winter and spring on the Mediterranean since 1900. While this move was undoubtedly a result of Renoir's declining health, it also accommodated a shift in his art, towards a more classical style. The entire composition of Paysage à Cagnes is bathed in the soft warm light of the Mediterranean. As Barbara White has written:

During the first decade of the twentieth century, Renoir's style continued to develop as it had during the previous decade in an integration of classicism and Impressionism. Tangible forms are surrounded by a warm atmosphere created by expressive brushstrokes of vibrant color and sparkling light. Classical feelings of weightiness and universality are blended with Impressionist feelings of movement and joyfulness. (B.E. White, Renoir, His Life, Art and Letter, New York, 1984, p. 217)

With Cagnes depicted in the distance, two young girls play in this idyllic setting surrounded by lush, green foliage which fills the canvas. In 1908, J.F. Schnerb described Renoir's late landscapes in a review of a Durand-Ruel exhibition:

M. Renoir more and more loves his canvas being full and sonorous. He loathes empty spaces. Every corner in his landscapes offers a relationship of colors and values chosen with a view to the embellishment of the surface. His recent studies of the Provençal landscape have led him 'to transpose the themes funished by nature into the most sonorous color range and to assemble the largest possible number of elements in the canvas, like a musician who ceaselessly adds new elements to his orchestra'. (Quoted in J. House, Renoir 1880-1919, exh. cat., The Hayward Gallery, London, 1985, pp. 276-277)

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