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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FORMERLY FROM THE COLLECTION OF WERNER & NELLY BÄR, ZURICH

La grande laveuse accroupie

La grande laveuse accroupie
signed 'Renoir' (on the left side on top of the base) and stamped with the foundry mark 'F. GODARD.FONDEUR' (on the top of the back of the base)
bronze with dark brown patina
height: 47 5⁄8 in. (123 cm.)
width: 29 1⁄2 in. (75 cm.)
depth: 50 3⁄4 in. (129 cm.)
Conceived in 1917; this bronze version cast by Godard before 1950
Gottfried Tanner, Zurich.
Werner & Nelly Bär, Zurich, by whom acquired in 1950, and thence by descent to the present owner.
W. George, 'L'Œuvre Sculpté de Renoir', in L’Amour de l’Art, vol. 8, August 1924, p. 332 (another cast illustrated pp. 329 & 332; titled 'Baigneuse accroupie').
J. Meier-Graefe, Renoir, Leipzig, 1928, no. 411, pp. 395-396 & 448 (another cast illustrated pl. 408).
U.E. Johnson, Ambroise Vollard, Editeur, New York, 1944, no. 160, pp. 134 & 195 (dated '1916').
P. Haesaerts, Renoir Sculptor, New York, 1947, no. 21, pp. 31 & 42 (another cast illustrated pls. XXXVIII-XLII).
A.C. Ritchie, Sculpture of the Twentieth Century, New York, 1955 (another cast illustrated pl. 63).
A.H. Barr, ed., Masters of Modern Art, New York, 1958, p. 40 (another cast illustrated p. 41).
J. Selz, Modern Sculpture, New York, 1963, p. 188 (another cast illustrated fig. 152).
R. Wehrli, ed., Sammlung Werner und Nelly Bär, Zurich, 1965, p. 258 (illustrated pl. 185).
Winterthur, Kunstmuseum, Die Plastiksammlung Werner Bär, September - November 1951, no. 71, p. 14.
Varese, Villa Mirabello, 2a Rassegna internazionale di scultura all'aperto, August - September 1953, no. 129.
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Werner Bär Plastik, Kurt Sponagel Graphik, August - September 1959, no. 82, p. 20 (illustrated pl. 5); this exhibition later travelled to Bern, Kunstmuseum, September - November 1959.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. This lot will be removed to our storage facility at Momart. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Momart. All collections from Momart will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Further details
Corinne Guino has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

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Lot Essay

The magnificent La grande laveuse accroupie is widely considered Renoir's sculptural magnum opus. Conceived in 1917, this monumental work was the last sculpture completed by the artist in his collaboration with Richard Guino, who soon thereafter left Essoyes and Cagnes never to return again. Designed to be a companion piece to an equally large seated Blacksmith, the Grande laveuse was inspired by the abstract notion of elemental opposites. These humble figures--'a simple blacksmith heating the iron, a simple washerwoman scrubbing the laundry'--were devised as connotative icons, illustrating the primordial dichotomy of fire and water (P. Haesaerts, op. cit., p. 31). Cast, significantly, as a man and a woman, the two figures constitute a symbolic paradigm, connoting a virtually endless series of oppositions.
Though Guino completed some sketches for the Blacksmith in terracotta and plaster, as well as drawings after a model in the scale of execution, Renoir soon grew weary of this partnership and the Blacksmith was never completed. As such, the Grande laveuse persists as the testament to this ambitious project, and the apotheosis of Renoir's sculptural work. As Paul Haeaerts has observed: "In its present state the statue is beautiful and imposing. It surprises the spectator by its vigor and wildness. The volumes have impressive fullness and density. This huge body, with its rounded shoulders, its wall-like bosom and its powerful buttocks, resembles a great rock, or some heavy Roman architecture. The two outstretched arms, bearing on the two columns formed by the wet linen (a sculptural find), look like two mighty buttresses. They foreshadow the 'primitive' and arrogant forms which sculptors like Jacques Lipchitz [sic] and Henry Moore favor, and which define their abstract art. A head with fleshy, panting lips, a distracted look, a twitching nose, dominates this mass and completes the symphony of muscle and blood in which the cosmic and the animal blend with the human (ibid.)."

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