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L'église à Essoyes

L'église à Essoyes
oil on canvas
9 7⁄8 x 12 in. (25 x 30.6 cm.)
Painted in Essoyes circa 1900
Ambroise Vollard, Paris.
Galerie Art-Mel, Paris.
Private collection, Paris (circa 1954).
Private collection, Paris (by descent from the above); sale, Sotheby's, London, 25 June 1997, lot 125.
Private collection, Brazil (acquired at the above sale); sale, Sotheby's, London, 8 February 2006, lot 420.
Private collection, United Kingdom (acquired at the above sale); sale, Sotheby's, London, 6 February 2013, lot 377.
Private collection, London (acquired at the above sale).
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
A. Vollard, Tableaux, pastels et dessins de Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paris, 1918, vol. II (illustrated, p. 155).
G.-P. and M. Dauberville, Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, 1895-1902, Paris, 2010, vol. III, p. 163, no. 1984 (illustrated; with incorrect cataloguing).
Post lot text
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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Lot Essay

The setting for this luminous and tranquil scene is the town of Essoyes, a rural village on the border of Champagne and Bourgogne. It was here that Renoir’s wife Aline had been raised and where the two purchased a summer home. Through a myriad of strokes of color and deft brushwork, the artist captures the brilliance of the sunlight as it delicately touches the windswept brush and trees. Here, Renoir’s technique emphasizes texture through rapid and expressive brushwork. The hot, heightened strokes of orange and gold stand out against a ground of cooling greens and blues. The artist’s nuanced treatment of light and its ensuing atmospheric effect, results in a lively and liberated scene and through its distinct handling, has captured its distinct freshness and luminosity.
Although Renoir would keep his rented Parisian apartment throughout his life, from the late 1880s onward, much of his time would be spent in the countryside enjoying the tranquil pleasures the retreat had to offer. Renoir’s middle son, Jean, wrote of their home in the region with great nostalgia, “Essoyes, where my mother and Gabrielle were born, has remained more or less unspoiled… there is no other place like it in the whole wide world. There I spent the best years of my childhood. My enchantment used to begin as soon as I got within ten miles of the village, when the train from Paris had passed the flat plain of Champagne and entered the hilly region covered with vineyards... My father felt well whenever he was at Essoyes; and as he covered his canvases with color, he would enjoy having us around as well as the villagers… When little girls came across Renoir in the fields they would whisper to each other, ‘There he is, daubing,’ so as not to disturb him. He would call to them, and they would approach slowly...[The villagers] said he was not at all like other people. He didn’t drink. He never talked politics. He wore old-fashioned cravats. But everyone liked him in spite of it” (Renoir: My Father, New York, 1958, pp. 319-321 and 325).

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