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

Femme assise (Baigneuse assise vue de dos)

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Femme assise (Baigneuse assise vue de dos)
signed 'A Renoir.' (lower left)
sanguine and white chalk on paper laid down on board
15 ¼ x 11 7/8 in. (38.7 x 30.2 cm.)
Drawn circa 1885-1887
Jacques Dubourg, Paris.
César de Hauke, Paris (1946).
Mrs. Erskine-Mange.
Galerie Brame et Lorenceau, Paris.
Private collection, France (acquired from the above); sale, Sotheby's, London, 8 December 1997, lot 2.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
A. Vollard, Tableaux, pastels et dessins de Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paris, 1918, vol. I, p. 37, no. 145 (illustrated).
A. Vollard, En écoutant Cézanne, Degas, Renoir, Paris, 1938, p. 225 (illustrated).
J. Rewald, Renoir Drawings, New York, 1946, p. 21, no. 56 (illustrated).
C. Renoir, Seize aquarelles et sanguines de Renoir, Paris and New York, 1948 (illustrated).
G.-P. and M. Dauberville, Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, Paris, 2009, vol. II, p. 542, no. 1570 (illustrated).
Further details
This work will be included in the forthcoming Renoir Digital Catalogue Raisonné, currently being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc.

Lot Essay

Renoir is best known for his paintings of voluptuous female nudes; the bather was one of his signature subjects throughout his career. In choosing this simple yet canonical theme, Renoir established himself amongst the greatest European painters of the female nude, including Peter Paul Rubens, François Boucher, and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Renoir undoubtedly studied the work of these masters at the Louvre, becoming familiar with the fleshy forms that characterized each artist’s oeuvre. Renoir’s red chalk study also invokes the tradition of academic figure drawing, a cornerstone of artistic practice in France since the seventeenth century.
This fully-realized study recalls a number of canvases by Renoir in which a single, monumental female figure is pictured bathing outdoors. In many of the artist’s earlier paintings, individual bathers assume demure or coquettish poses, while in later works, the figure appears unselfconscious and unaware of the viewer’s gaze; the present drawing belongs to the latter category. Renoir observes his nude subject from behind, seated against a white fabric—a neutral studio prop, which might stand for a rock or grassy knoll in a more fully realized painting. With red chalk, Renoir noted specific anatomical details: the ridges of his model’s spine, the folds of flesh at the nape of her neck, and her loose chignon. The artist also used touches of white heightening to create the illusion of soft volume at the model’s back, hips, and thighs.
John Rewald aptly described this three-dimensional quality of Renoir’s nude sketches: “Thus the human bodies, which he conceived as sensuous and generous, overflow their outlines and radiate into space. Line is no longer a limit which separates an object from its surroundings, it is, in the contrary, the medium that unites them. If it sets off a voluminous form against its background, it also creates between background and form that suggestion of space which gives the body its expansive roundness, its plenitude” (Renoir Drawings, New York, 1946, pp. 12-13).

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