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Property from the Collection of Elene Canrobert Isles de Saint Phalle

Jeune fille à la rose

Jeune fille à la rose
signed and dated ‘Renoir 86.’ (lower right)
pastel and pencil on paper laid down on board
24 3/8 x 18 ¼ in. (62 x 46.3 cm.)
Drawn in 1886
Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Paris.
Bernheim-Jeune Fils, Paris (acquired from the above, 30 September 1910).
Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Paris (acquired from the above, 14 June 1912).
Henry Ruben Ickelheimer, New York (acquired from the above, 6 November 1919).
Philip Henry Isles, New York (by descent from the above, circa 1940).
By descent from the above to the late owner, circa 1960.
G. Rivière, Renoir et ses amis, Paris, 1921, p. 270 (illustrated, p. 97).
G. Coquiot, Renoir, Paris, 1925, p. 228 (illustrated).
J. Meier-Graefe, Renoir, Leipzig, 1929, p. 442, no. 192 (illustrated, p. 210).
M. Drucker, Renoir, Paris, 1944, p. 206 (illustrated, pl. 85).
J. Rewald, ed., Renoir Drawings, New York, 1946, p. 20, no. 45 (illustrated; illustrated again on the cover).
F. Fosca, Renoir, Paris, 1961, p. 191.
Renoir: From Outsider to Old Master 1870-1892, exh. cat., Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo, 2001, p. 130 (illustrated, fig. 48).
G.-P. and M. Dauberville, Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, Paris, 2009, vol. II, p. 244, no. 1067 (illustrated) and p. 445, no. 1393 (illustrated again).
G.-P. and M. Dauberville, Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, Paris, 2014, vol. V, p. 587.
Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Exposition internationale de peinture et de sculpture. Sixième année, May-June 1887, p. 25, no. 138.
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Portraits par Renoir, 1912, p. 6, no. 57.
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Summer Loan Exhibition, 1967, p. 8, no. 89.
Further details
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.

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Emily Kaplan Senior Vice President, Senior Specialist, Co-Head of 20th Century Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Jeune fille à la rose of 1886 is an ambiguopus pastel work on paper, executed on the scale of a full-sized oil painting at the height of the artist's career. A waist-length portrait of a young girl is swathed in white, with dark, heavy-lidded eyes and plump, peach-colored cheeks and lips. Resting her arms at her slender hips, she absentmindedly fingers the stem of a single pale pink rose, which echoes the color of her complexion. The figure’s round visage contrasts with her melancholic or bored expression; yet those downcast eyes and pouting mouth only serve to enhance her appeal. Exhibited only once, at the Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris in 1912, this portrait has remained by descent in the same family collection since it was acquired from Durand-Ruel in 1919.
Popularized in France in the eighteenth century, pastel enjoyed a resurgence in the late nineteenth century, when sets of pastel sticks were more widely manufactured. Impressionist artists such as Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet and Berthe Morisot were especially fluent in pastel, a medium which enabled them to draw with color. Renoir, too, was attracted to the unique material properties of pastel: the soft, bendable texture allowed him to convey the subtleties of color in fabric and flesh alike.
This jeune fille wears a gossamer white silk blouse with a delicately ruffled neck and sleeve. Renoir indicated the translucence of this material with a subtle hint of pale flesh beneath. Over her blouse, she wears a matching white silk pinafore dress, which elegantly articulates her shoulders and waist. The yellow straw hat on her head is further trimmed with white silk. The casual shape of her apron-style dress and the material of her hat suggest that this is the informal, daytime attire of an adolescent girl—a notion reinforced by the pale, sky-blue background. However, the pristine white material and ornate ruffles and bows connote a more refined setting. This costume might be compared to those depicted in Renoir’s 1882 portrait of the teenage daughters of his friend and dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel. In that oil on canvas portrait, Marie-Thérèse and Jeanne Durand-Ruel are similarly dressed in light summer dresses and beribboned straw hats, seated in the shade of a verdant garden.
Like several of his fellow Impressionists, Renoir was deeply interested in fashion. He often incorporated elements of modern design—new fabrics, patterns and accessories—into his paintings. These dresses, gloves, shoes, bags, fans and hats all conveyed specific information about the subject wearing them, and enabled the artist to incorporate new colors, textures and shapes into a composition. Hats, in particular, became one of the artist’s favorite motifs, and he encouraged his subjects to wear them. As Renoir wrote to an unidentified model in 1880, “Come to Chatou tomorrow with a pretty summer hat. Do you still have that big hat that you look so nice in? If so, I'd like that, the gray one, the one you wore in Argenteuil” (quoted in Renoir, exh. cat., Kunsthalle Tübingen, 1996, p. 204). Renoir undoubtedly viewed hats as vehicles for formal expression and innovation. The Post-Impressionists that succeeded him, including Vincent van Gogh and Henri Matisse, would similarly incorporate hats into their female portraits.
Renoir’s access to modern womenswear was undoubtedly facilitated by his relationship with Aline Charigot, who he met in late 1879 and married in 1890, after the birth of their first son, Pierre. Aline, who was twenty years younger than Renoir, worked as a dressmaker in Paris; her proximity to the fashion industry certainly informed Renoir’s artistic production. Aline frequently modeled for Renoir and was almost always depicted wearing a hat. In Renoir’s iconic 1881 masterpiece, Le déjeuner des canotiers (Dauberville, no. 224; The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.), for example, Aline posed for the young woman holding a dog and wearing a straw hat adorned with a pink ribbon and bold red flowers.
Unlike Renoir’s alluring pastel studies of female models who appear nude or in a partial state of déshabillé, however, the subject of the present work maintains a sense of propriety. She is differentiated from Renoir’s more generic, idealized representations of pretty girls by her perfectly erect posture and conservative attire, as well as her thoughtful expression. This individualized countenance endows the work with a sense of specificity, which is typically reserved for portraits. François Daulte has written of Renoir’s pastel portraits, “If he frequently used that medium to depict those near and dear to him, it was because pastel, which combines color with line, gave him the possibility of working rapidly to capture in all their vividness the rapid flash of intelligence and the fleeting show of emotion…Renoir probes his sitters to their very soul and offers them boldly to our gaze. He brings them to life and makes us feel their presence” (Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Watercolors, Pastels, and Drawings in Color, London, 1959, p. 10).
Whether on paper or canvas, the young girl is the quintessential subject of Renoir’s art. From the fashionable urban bourgeois to the nude rural nymph, Renoir’s women remained forever young, even as the artist continued to age. As Octave Mirbeau, the nineteenth-century art critic and champion of Renoir’s art, wrote, “He is truly the painter of women, alternatively gracious and moving, knowing and simple, and always elegant, with an exquisite visual sensibility...he also gives a sense of the form of the soul, all woman's inward musicality and bewitching mystery” (quoted in N. Wadley, ed., Renoir, A Retrospective, New York, 1987, p. 165). Renoir’s Jeune fille à la rose conveys some of that interior complexity—while remaining, above all, as pretty as a flower.

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