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.
Unlike his contemporaries Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille, Renoir showed little interest in painting still lifes at the beginning of his career. From the early 1880s onwards, however, it began to occupy an increasing position of importance in his oeuvre. Among the most “academic” of the Impressionists—a position he shared with Paul Cézanne, another devotee of the still life subject—Renoir is frequently remembered as a painter of the female figure. Although he recommended to Edouard Manet's niece Julie to paint still life "in order to teach yourself to paint quickly" (quoted in J. Manet, Journal, 1893-1899, Paris, n.d., p. 190), the numerous works, often elaborate and ambitious, which Renoir executed in this genre over the course of his career attest to his sustained interest in still life as an end in itself. It was in these compositions that Renoir pursued some of his most probing investigations of the effects of light and color on objects and surfaces. Renoir told his biographer, Albert André, that it was in his small-scale still lifes, such as the present work, that "he put the whole of himself, that he took every risk" (A. André, Renoir, Paris,1928, p. 49).