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

Tête de femme (Jeune femme au chignon)

Details
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Tête de femme (Jeune femme au chignon)
signed 'Renoir' (lower right)
oil on canvas
16¼ x 13 in. (41.2 x 33 cm.)
Painted circa 1895
Provenance
M. Faure, Paris.
Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the above, January 1905).
Mme de la Chapelle, Paris (acquired from the above, February 1941).
Private collection, Munich.
Galerie Pétridès, Paris.
Anon. sale, Sotheby's, London, 1 December 1987, lot 20.
Acquired by the present owner, circa 1990.
Literature
G.-P. and M. Dauberville, Renoir, Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, 1895-1902, Paris, 2010, vol. III, p. 339, no. 2278 (illustrated).
Sale Room Notice
This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue critique of Pierre-Auguste Renoir being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute established from the archives of François Daulte, Durand-Ruel, Venturi, Vollard and Wildenstein.

Lot Essay

This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue critique of Pierre-Auguste Renoir being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute established from the archives of François Daulte, Durand-Ruel, Venturi, Vollard and Wildenstein.

Renoir's portraits were more than just a reproduction of his sitter's aesthetic appearance, but a reflection of the subject's inner personality and beauty. His portraits of young women were especially captivating, as he so perfectly captured the delicate nature of the female form. He loved and adored the women he painted, and this adoration translated effortlessly into his pictures. "Renoir was permanently in love with women and transferred their luminous radiance he found in them onto the canvas" (G. Néret, Renoir Painter of Happiness: 1841-1918, Los Angeles, 2009, p. 188).

The young woman in this portrait offers a superb example of how Renoir could pair and reveal the subtle dichotomy of the beauty and grace of his female sitter. Her hair is pulled back ever so gently in a bun, as highlights of reds and browns are illuminated in each strand. She looks down and away, her checks are flush in shyness, and her ruby red lips reflect a subtle, feminine touch. She is alluring yet delicate and graceful. We are mere onlookers able to partake in his adoration.

Portraiture among the Impressionist artists was frowned upon--a sign that an artist selling out for money. It was landscapes that truly captured their doctrine and the plight of the Petite Bourgeoisie. In landscapes, no patron dictated how artist's brush strokes should look, or how much color or texture was appropriate. However, everything was different with Renoir. Renoir was able to transform the constructs of the traditional portrait, elevating its status among his colleagues. "When Renoir decided, in mid-career, to try his hand at fashionable Parisian portraiture, he revolutionized the form by treating it with the same freedom that his friends were bringing to landscape painting" (ibid., p. 184).

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