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Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)

Vase d'anémones

Details
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Vase d'anémones
signed 'Renoir.' (lower right)
oil on canvas laid down on panel
13 x 10 in. (33 x 25.5 cm.)
Painted circa 1892
Provenance
Ambroise Vollard, Paris (acquired from the artist, by 1919).
Mme de la Chapelle, Paris.
M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York (acquired from the above, September 1937).
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and John D. Rockefeller, Jr., New York (acquired from the above, April 1938).
Winthrop Rockefeller, New York (acquired from the estate of the above, 1958).
Acquired from the estate of the above by the late owners, July 1974.
Literature
A. Vollard, Tableaux, pastels et dessins de Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paris, 1918, vol. II, p. 91 (illustrated).
M. Potter et al., The David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection: European Works of Art, New York, 1984, vol. I, p. 172, no. 54 (illustrated).
G.-P. and M. Dauberville, Renoir, Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, Paris, 2009, vol. II, p. 8, no. 691 (illustrated; dated 1882 and titled Roses dans un verre).
Exhibited
Glasgow, The Lefevre Gallery (Alex. Reid & Lefevre, Ltd.), French Art of the 19th and 20th Centuries, April 1937, no. 50.
London, The Lefevre Gallery (Alex. Reid & Lefevre, Ltd.), The 19th Century French Masters, July-August 1937, no. 34.
Special Notice

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Lot Essay

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.
In this lively floral still life, Renoir has brought to bear the full weight of his painterly talents on the virtuoso rendering of a bouquet of multi-colored anemones, set off against scattered sprigs of dark green foliage and informally arranged in a small glass goblet. The canvas is exceptional for the free and vigorous handling of the paint, which animates the sensuous profusion of blossoms and conveys the effect of a motif rapidly perceived. Defying the conventions of the dominant still life tradition at the time, Renoir replaced the familiar dark background of Chardin with a field of light-colored brushwork that illuminates the picture from within, heightening the impression of immediacy.
Throughout his career, still lifes afforded Renoir the welcome opportunity to experiment and extemporize freely in his technique. Working within the controlled setting of the studio, without concern for the demands of live models or the vagaries of sunlight, he could focus more easily and fully on the quality of paint and on the varied effects of brushwork and color. “When I am painting flowers I can experiment boldly with tones and values without worrying about destroying the whole painting,” he explained to the critic Georges Rivière. “I would not dare to do that with a figure” (quoted in Renoir, exh. cat., Hayward Gallery, London, 1985, p. 183).
The robust modeling of the flowers in the present still lifes reflects the increasingly classicizing conception of art that Renoir cultivated during the 1890s—“my new and final manner of painting,” he explained to Durand-Ruel, “like Fragonard, but not so good” (quoted in Renoir in the Barnes Foundation, New Haven, 2012, p. 121). The linchpin of Renoir’s work during these years was a long sequence of paintings depicting the idyllic recreations of bourgeois girls, their fresh-faced beauty echoed in the luxuriant forms of flowers. They don flower-trimmed hats, gather blossoms in meadows, and read or play piano in domestic interiors laden with bouquets (fig. 1). An immediate success with collectors and critics, this new approach ushered in a period of mounting prosperity and long-awaited fame for Renoir, who turned fifty in 1891. “I’m in demand again on the market,” he wrote to the collector Paul Berard. “If nothing happens to disturb my work, it will go like clockwork” (quoted in B.E. White, Renoir, His Life, Art, and Letters, New York, 1984, p. 189).
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller acquired Vase d'anémones in 1938. Upon the distribution of her estate two decades later, the painting passed to Mr. Rockefeller’s older brother Winthrop, who hung it in his home at Winrock Farm in Arkansas. Peggy and David Rockefeller acquired the canvas in 1974, after Winthrop Rockefeller’s death, and displayed it with a Redon flower painting in the front hall of Hudson Pines, their home in Pocantico Hills.

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