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

Rochers de l'Estaque

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Rochers de l'Estaque
signed and dated 'Renoir 82.' (lower left)
oil on canvas
12 3/4 x 15 7/8 in. (32.3 x 40.3 cm.)
Painted in 1882
Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (no. 1191), by 8 September 1886.
Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York (no. 193), by April 1888.
Catholina Lambert, Paterson, New Jersey, by whom acquired from the above on 25 February 1892; her sale, Plaza Hotel, New York, 22 February 1916, lot 114.
Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York (no. 3944).
M.C.J. Cote, by whom acquired from the above on 25 January 1919.
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, New York, 16 November 1989, lot 318.
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, London, 24 June 1996, lot 32.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
E. Fezzi, L'opera completa di Renoir nel periodo impressionista 1869-1883, Milan, 1972, no. 509, p. 111 (illustrated p. 112).
G.P. & M. Dauberville, Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, vol. II, 1882-1894, Paris, 2009, no. 775, p. 56 (illustrated).
Tokyo, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Renoir: From Outsider to Old Master 1870-1892, February - April 2001, no. 25 (illustrated p. 111); this exhibition later travelled to Nagoya, Nagoya City Art Museum, April - June 2001.
London, National Gallery, Renoir Landscapes 1865-1883, February - May 2007, no. 66 (illustrated p. 253).

Brought to you by

Anna Povejsilova
Anna Povejsilova

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.

Painted in 1882, Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Rochers de l’Estaque is one of a small series of radiant landscapes that the artist painted during a stay with Paul Cézanne in L’Estaque, a small fishing port just west of Marseilles. Renoir, who was travelling back to Paris having spent the previous months in Algeria and Italy, was immediately captivated by the raw light and rich beauty of the Provençal landscape. ‘How beautiful it is!’ he wrote to a friend, ‘It’s certainly the most beautiful place in the world, and not yet inhabited… There are only some fishermen and the mountains…so there are no walls, no properties or few…here I have the true countryside at my doorstep’ (Renoir, quoted in Renoir, exh. cat., London, Paris & Boston, 1985-86, p. 233). With its luminous blue sky, verdant green vegetation and sun-dappled hills punctuated by delicate, iridescent blue shadows, Rochers de l’Estaque demonstrates Renoir’s joyful enthusiasm and ardent appreciation for this bucolic and unspoilt natural landscape.  

On his arrival in L’Estaque in January 1882, Renoir settled in the Hôtel des Bains where he planned to stay ‘for a fortnight’. Cézanne and Renoir soon began painting together, depicting the sun-drenched landscape en plein air. At this time, Cézanne was developing his mature style, using his distinctive ‘constructive’ brushstrokes to render the landscape with the clarity and lucidity that he felt was essential for the depiction of nature. Renoir was a great admirer of Cézanne and his influence can be felt throughout Rochers de l’Estaque; Renoir’s soft, variegated brushstrokes are smaller and more defined and in some areas, the strokes run parallel to each other, creating small patches of colour that are reminiscent of Cézanne. Yet, unlike Cézanne, in Rochers de l’Estaque Renoir has undoubtedly captured an immediate impression of the sun-drenched landscape before him, experimenting with colour, light and texture to capture the gentle play of shadows across the rocky terrain. The rocky outcrop is transformed into an ephemeral and luminescent mirage of colour that immediately conjures the peaceful atmosphere of this quiet corner of the countryside.

More from Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

View All
View All