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

Esquisse de paysage (Deux femmes dans le jardin des Collettes à Cagnes)

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Esquisse de paysage (Deux femmes dans le jardin des Collettes à Cagnes)
stamped with signature 'Renoir.' (Lugt 2137b; lower right)
oil on canvas
12 5/8 x 16 1/8 in. (32 x 41 cm.)
Painted in 1919
Estate of the artist.
Galerie Renou et Poyet, Paris (acquired from the above).
Alfred Weinberger, Paris (acquired from the above, 1925); confiscated by the Devisenschutzkommando, 8 September 1941.
Transferred to the Einsatzstabreichsleiter Rosenberg (Wbg 120), 4 December 1941 and sent to the Jeu de Paume 10 September 1942.
Soutro Gallery, London.
Anon. sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet South Africa (Pty) Ltd., Johannesburg, 4 March 1975, lot 21.
Anon. sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet & Co., London, 7 December 1977, lot 22.
Anon. sale, Christie's, London, 24 June 1997, lot 284.
Private collection; sale, Sotheby's, New York, 3 November 2005, lot 114.
Park West Gallery, Southfield, Michigan (acquired at the above sale).
Private collection, South Carolina (acquired from the above).
Restituted to the heir of Alfred Weinberger, September 2018.
J. and G. Bernheim-Jeune, L'Atelier de Renoir, Paris, 1931, vol. II, no. 539 (illustrated, pl. 170; with incorrect dimensions).
G.-P. and M. Dauberville, Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, 1911-1919 et 1er supplément, Paris, 2014, vol. V, p. 152, no. 3881 (illustrated).
J. Barron, "Stolen by the Nazis, A Renoir Is Returned To a Descendant," The New York Times, 13 September 2018, p. A24 (illustrated in color).

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Vanessa Fusco
Vanessa Fusco

Lot Essay

This work will be included in the forthcoming Pierre-Auguste Renoir Digital Catalogue Raisonné, currently being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc.

By the turn of the century, Renoir's health was deteriorating and he began to spend increasing amounts of time in the south of France. In 1907 he purchased an old five-acre farm at Les Collettes, Cagnes-sur-Mer, which included a large olive grove and a variety of trees. There he built a villa with two studios and a detached glass structure in the olive grove to serve as an outdoor studio for his plein air landscape painting. The construction was completed in the fall of 1908, though Renoir chose to leave the old farmhouse in which the previous owner had lived untouched in an attempt to preserve the rural character of the property (fig. 1). Renoir and his family lived in the villa during the winter months for the rest of his life. From the very beginning, the villa became the focus of Renoir's artistic and social activities, attracting Ambroise Vollard, Claude Monet, Albert André, Maurice Denis, and Paul Durand-Ruel as guests. Indeed, his social life was so active that Renoir wrote to Julie Manet Rouart in March 1908 that "Cagnes is becoming an intellectual center. It is Paris that is provincial, so there!" (quoted in B.E. White, Renoir, His Life, Art and Letters, New York, 1984, p. 241).
While Renoir continued to work on his portrait commissions and nude bathers at Les Collettes, he became increasingly interested in landscape subjects. The balcony of his villa overlooked the town of Cagnes-sur-Mer, and from it Renoir could see as far as Cap d'Antibes. Though the artist had more freedom in his landscapes than he would with the portrait commissions, they challenged him in different ways. In a 1918 interview Renoir discussed his landscapes of Cagnes with the art critic René Gimpel: "The olive tree, what a brute! If you realize how much trouble it has caused me. A tree full of colors. Not great at all. Its little leaves, how they've made me sweat! A gust of wind, and my tree's tonality changes. The color isn't on the leaves, but in the spaces between them. I know that I can't paint nature, but I enjoy struggling with it. A painter can't be great if he doesn't understand landscape” (quoted in J. House, Renoir, exh. cat., Hayward Gallery, London, 1985, p. 277).

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