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

Madeleine au corsage blanc et bouquet de fleurs

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Madeleine au corsage blanc et bouquet de fleurs
stamped with the signature 'Renoir.' (Lugt 2137b; lower right)
oil on canvas
21 5/8 x 19 7/8 in. (54.9 x 50.3 cm.)
Painted circa 1915-1919
The artist's estate.
Mrs Paul Guillaume, Paris, by 1938.
Anonymous sale; Palais Galliéra, Paris, 12 June 1964, lot 105.
Private collection, Japan; sale, Christie's, New York, 8 May 2000, lot 45.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.

Bernheim-Jeune, ed., L'Atelier de Renoir, Paris, 1931, vol. II, no. 545, p. 242 (illustrated, pl. 172; with inverted dimensions).
G.-P. & M. Dauberville, Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, Paris, 2014, vol. V, no. 4179, p. 318 (illustrated).
Reims, Musée des Beaux-Arts, L'Impressionnisme: Ses origines et son héritage au XIXe siècle, 1938, no. 26 (illustrated; titled 'Femme à la rose').
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Cent chefs-d'oeuvre de l'art français, 1750-1950, 1957, no. 75 (illustrated).
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Antoine Lebouteiller
Antoine Lebouteiller

Lot Essay

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 François Daulte, Durand-Ruel, Venturi, Vollard and Wildenstein.

In 1913 tensions between Aline Renoir and Gabrielle Renard, Renoir's most important model of the period and an indispensable member of his household for nearly twenty years, led to Gabrielle’s dismissal; Renoir was devastated. Soon, however, he had found a new model - a charming young girl from the local village of Cagnes named Madeleine Bruno, whose round face, full rosy cheeks, and dark brown hair are recognisable in the present painting. Madeleine quickly became one of Renoir’s principal sources of inspiration and artistic vigour, sitting for several dozen canvases between 1913 and 1919. Along with the ginger-haired Dédée Heuschling, Renoir’s other favourite model during his final years, Madeleine posed for the last two masterworks of the artist’s career: Les grandes baigneuses (Musée d’Orsay, Paris) and Le concert (Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto), both glowing testaments to his lifelong affirmation of sensual beauty. Although Madeleine’s physique was in fact quite slight, Renoir consistently depicted her with the ripe, voluptuous curves and palpable physicality that embodied his late ideal - making it difficult for her, she once remarked, to recognise her own figure in Renoir’s art. In the present painting, she wears a loose-fitting white gown with voluminous sleeves that accentuates this effect; her majestic, monumental torso dominates the pictorial space, stretching to the very edges of the canvas.

In Madeleine au corsage blanc et bouquet de fleurs, Renoir has retained many elements recognisable from depictions of Gabrielle at her toilette. The rose in the hair (seemingly plucked in this case from the lavish bouquet at left) and the semi-translucent and vaguely exotic chemise, while the gold ground hints at the same sort of opulent boudoir interior. Madeleine appears timeless, her hands folded and her expression distant, all narrative associations emptied out. She is no longer merely adorned with flowers - she seems to become a flower, still and radiant. The rosy bloom in her cheeks echoes the vivid hue of the blossom in her hair, and the diaphanous,
billowing folds of her garment are like petals. This equation of female and floral beauty is underscored by the unified treatment of the paint surface itself, with its narrow chromatic range and overall decorative patterning. Colours are hot and heightened (principally pink, red, and gold, with streaks of blue added sparingly for contrast), and translucent, layered strokes are built up to create a mobile, almost vibrating surface.

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