Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
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Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
4 More
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more The Cox Collection: The Story of Impressionism

Madame Henriot

Madame Henriot
signed 'Renoir' (lower right)
oil on canvas
16 x 13 in. (41 x 33 cm.)
Painted in 1874
Henriette Henriot, Paris (acquired from the artist); sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 24 March 1875, lot 39.
Henri Rouart, Paris (acquired at the above sale).
Edgar Degas, Paris (probably acquired from the above, circa 1875); Estate sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 26-27 March 1918, lot 88.
Paul Rosenberg & Co., Paris (acquired at the above sale).
Jacques de Zoubaloff, Paris; sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 16-17 June 1927, lot 157.
Otto Gerson, Paris (acquired at the above sale).
Wildenstein et Cie., Paris (acquired from the above, 1928).
Adolph Lewisohn, New York (acquired from the above, 1928).
Samuel Adolph Lewisohn, New York (by descent from the above).
Joan Simon, New York (by descent from the above, until at least 1985).
Private collection, United Kingdom.
Wildenstein & Co. Inc., New York (acquired from the above, 1989).
Acquired from the above by the late owner, 4 November 1996.
R. Fry, "A Monthly Chronicle: The Sale of Degas's Collection" in The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, March 1918, vol. 32, no. 180, p. 118.
P. Lafond, Degas, Paris, 1918, p. 121 (titled Tête de femme).
J. Guiffrey, "La vente Zoubaloff" in La Renaissance de l'art français et des industries de luxe, May 1927, p. 231 (illustrated).
R. Cortissoz, "Auguste Renoir and the Cult for Beauty" in International Studio, August 1928, vol. XC, no. 375 (illustrated in color on the cover).
J. Meier-Graefe, Renoir, Leipzig, 1928, p. 67 (illustrated, fig. 42; dated 1874-1875 and with incorrect dimensions).
S. Bourgeois and W. George, "The A. and S. Lewisohn Collection" in Formes, 1932, nos. 28-29, 1932, pp. 304-305 (illustrated, opposite p. 303; titled Portrait de jeune fille).
M.H. Piescotto, "Famous Art Collections: The Lewisohn Collection" in The Studio, March 1939, vol. CXVII, no. 552 (illustrated, p. 97).
P.A. Lemoisne, Degas et son oeuvre, Paris, 1946, vol. I, pp. 178 and 180 (illustrated, p. 179, fig. c).
M. Bodelsen, "Early Impressionist Sales 1874-94 in Light of Some Unpublished 'Procès-Verbaux'" in The Burlington Magazine, June 1968, vol. 110, no. 783, p. 336, lot 39 (titled Tête de femme).
F. Daulte, Auguste Renoir: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, figures, Lausanne, 1971, vol. I, no. 108 (illustrated).
E. Fezzi, L'opera completa di Renoir nel periodo impressionista, 1869-1883, Milan, 1972, p. 95, no. 134 (illustrated).
S. Monneret, L'impressionnisme et son époque, Paris, 1980, vol. 3, p. 271, no. 39.
E. Fezzi and J. Henry, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Renoir: Période impressionniste, 1869-1883, Paris, 1985, p. 85, no. 129 (illustrated).
A. Roquebert, "Degas Collectionneur" in Degas inédit (Actes du colloque Degas), Paris, 1988, pp. 66 and 82, note 7.
A. Dumas, "Degas as a Collector" in Apollo, September 1996, pp. 13, 65 and 82, note 70.
A. Dumas, C. Ives, S.A. Stein and G. Tinterow, The Private Collection of Edgar Degas, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1997, pp. 11, 15 and 124 (illustrated in color, p. 126, fig. 159) and pp. 67-68, note 48.
G.-P. and M. Dauberville, Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, Paris, 2007, vol. I, pp. 454-455, no. 442 (illustrated, p. 455).
Paris, Galerie E. Druet, Renoir, February 1923, no. 22.
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Lewisohn Collection, November-December 1951, p. 15, no. 66 (illustrated, p. 41).
New York, Paul Rosenberg & Co., Collectors' Choice: Masterpieces of French Art from New York Private Collections, for the Benefit of the Public Education Association, March-April 1953, p. 50, no. 19 (illustrated; detail illustrated on the cover; dated 1876).
Special notice
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot. On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. Where Christie's has provided a Minimum Price Guarantee it is at risk of making a loss, which can be significant, if the lot fails to sell. Christie's therefore sometimes chooses to share that risk with a third party. In such cases the third party agrees prior to the auction to place an irrevocable written bid on the lot. The third party is therefore committed to bidding on the lot and, even if there are no other bids, buying the lot at the level of the written bid unless there are any higher bids. In doing so, the third party takes on all or part of the risk of the lot not being sold. If the lot is not sold, the third party may incur a loss. The third party will be remunerated in exchange for accepting this risk based on a fixed fee if the third party is the successful bidder or on the final hammer price in the event that the third party is not the successful bidder. The third party may also bid for the lot above the written bid. Where it does so, and is the successful bidder, the fixed fee for taking on the guarantee risk may be netted against the final purchase price.

Third party guarantors are required by us to disclose to anyone they are advising their financial interest in any lots they are guaranteeing. However, for the avoidance of any doubt, if you are advised by or bidding through an agent on a lot identified as being subject to a third party guarantee you should always ask your agent to confirm whether or not he or she has a financial interest in relation to the lot.
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.

Brought to you by

Adrien Meyer
Adrien Meyer Global Head, Private Sales, Co-Chairman, Impressionist & Modern Art

Lot Essay

The Impressionist movement is generally associated with dazzling landscapes and depictions of modern life in France’s Third Republic. The faces peopling these scenes were also the subject of intense scrutiny, particularly for Pierre-Auguste Renoir, who made the sensuous study of the female form a central tenant of his oeuvre. From modern Parisian women to great classical nudes, Renoir’s paintings celebrate his version of the feminine ideal. Between 1864 and 1885 figure portraits dominated his art, and the female form often became a vehicle for his experimentations with color and technique. Madame Henriot, a portrait of one of the artist’s favorite models from the height of his Impressionist period, is a luminous representation of Renoir’s marriage of painterly brio and the human form.
After parting ways with model and amour Lise Tréhot in 1872, Renoir turned to the young French actress Henriette Henriot (born Grossin). Between 1874 and 1876 she can be seen in at least twelve paintings, from closely cropped portraits like Madame Henriot to large-scale figure paintings, notably La Parisienne (Dauberville, no. 299; National Museum Cardiff, Wales) which was among three paintings Renoir exhibited at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. In a manner similar to Édouard Manet’s depictions of his favorite model Victorine Meurent, Renoir deployed Henriot in a variety of guises: as a coquette in the Rococo-inspired Les Amoureux (Dauberville, no. 264; National Gallery, Prague), in costume as a page in Madame Henriot en costume (Dauberville, no. 370; Columbus Museum of Art), and clad in a filmy undergarment in La Source (Dauberville, no. 369; The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia).
In the present work Henriot is simply herself, portrayed with vigorous brushwork and unexpected cool tones that impart an almost tactile loveliness. This practice—figure painting as pretext for technical experimentation—can be observed among fellow members of the avant-garde. Claude Monet’s depiction of his wife in his 1875 Camille Monet et un enfant au jardin (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), seems a pretense for capturing the riotous reds and pinks of the blooming roses with flickering brushstrokes, while Manet’s portrait, Victorine Meurent (circa 1862, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) reduces her face to planar swathes of light and shadow. The use of lower class models, friends, and family allowed these artists a degree of liberty in style and presentation that would be unacceptable in commissioned portraiture.
Renoir’s depictions of Henriot anticipate his later popularity as a society portraitist. In the present work he employs the conventions of traditional portrait painting: Henriot is positioned against a neutral backdrop in the center of an oblong canvas, caught in a moment of serious reflection as she look off to one side. This format can be traced back to ancient Egypt, and was still the primary compositional device in nineteenth-century portraits. The Rococo painter François Boucher, a particular favorite of Renoir’s, depicts his daughter within the same structure in his Portrait de la fille de l'artiste (circa 1760, Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris); this work illustrates the influence that the Rococo artist’s lightness and elegant eroticism had on the Impressionist. Mlles Boucher and Henriot are both depicted with wide, limpid eyes under thick brows, their pink cheeks flushed. The similarity is even more pronounced when compared to Renoir’s last depiction of Henriot from 1876, also titled Madame Henriot (Dauberville, no. 419; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) where the actress’s exposed décolletage is emphasized by the scrap of fabric about her neck, echoing Mlle Boucher’s costume. The pastel palette and sweet countenance of these women underscores an innocence at odds with the sensuality of their garb and painterly effect.
What separates Renoir from his forebears, as well as from the contemporaneous academic portraiture populating the Salon walls, is his brilliant light. Renoir’s studio works display a luminosity comparable to that of his plein air landscapes, captured through the technique of peinture claire. Employed by the Impressionists during the 1870s, peinture claire eschews the dark ground of academic painting in favor of working from light to dark, a method that creates what Anthea Callen calls a “heightening” effect of “brilliant prismatic colors…now synonymous with natural light” (The Art of Impressionism: Painting Technique & the Making of Modernity, New Haven, 2000, p. 136). Madame Henriot is suffused with light; even the darkest elements within the painting—her dress and hair ribbon—seem to shimmer as if lit from within. Renoir is here on the precipice of the near total rejection of drawing, instead creating forms through a network of colored daubs and touches. His brushwork moves between feathery strokes and thick impastos, defining hair, flesh and fabric through juxtapositions of facture and hue.
Henriot acquired this portrait from Renoir not long after its completion, before selling it in the Impressionist sale of 1875 at the Hôtel Drouot, Paris. According to the dealer Ambroise Vollard, Renoir took credit for initiating this unusual sale as a means of engaging directly with the public (M. Bodelson, op. cit., 1968, p. 333). The work was purchased by Henri Rouart, an industrialist and amateur painter best remembered as a staunch supporter of the Impressionists. Rouart and Edgar Degas had been fast friends since they met in 1853 at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris, and it is likely from Rouart that Degas acquired Madame Henriot in about 1875. Degas was a dedicated collector of nineteenth-century French art; his collection included paintings by Paul Cézanne, Eugene Delacroix, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Edouard Manet. Always, he selected those works which, “reveal the fundamental qualities of the painters at their purest and highest” (R. Fry, op. cit., 1918, p. 118).
Madame Henriot remained in Degas’s collection until his death in 1917, and was included in the artist’s first—and much anticipated—posthumous estate sale in 1918. Held in the midst of the First World War, not even an air raid could quell the excitement, and the paintings sold for unexpectedly high prices—particularly the portraits. The work passed through the hands of French collector Jacques de Zoubaloff and dealer Otto Gerson before finding its way to New York investment banker and philanthropist, Adolph Lewisohn. Acquired by the late owner in 1996, this work has not been publicly exhibited for over half a century, seen here for the first time since 1953.

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