Glancing back at Renoir’s (1841-1919) art we intimately feel the esprit of the time, the savoir vivre, the chic and charm of the French ladies, and Gustave Courbet’s advice to paint after life and the live model. Renoir transported the private into the public sphere, exposing interpersonal relationships and encounters to the viewer.
He was born in 1841 in Limoges, but his family moved to Paris three years later, where his artistic career began with an apprenticeship as a porcelain painter. Renoir was admitted to the Louvre as a copyist, he studied Fragonard, Boucher and Rubens – we can detect the great painter’s influence in Renoir’s nude pictures – and was eventually accepted into the École des Beaux-Arts, where he met Monet, Sisley and Bazille. Their friendship had a formative influence on the art of Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Painting en plein air in the woodlands of Fontainebleau, his choice of subjects, and the art of capturing light effected his development into a painter of the Impressionist movement.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Femme Nue Assise vue de Trois-Quarts, 31 x 26 cm, €170,000 – €220,000
The pictures up for auction on 28 November 2018 are from his late oeuvre, when his art was broadly acclaimed and his quest for paradise outside the real environment led him to compose idyllic landscapes. The beauty of these late paintings is marked by vivid colours, agile and free brushstrokes, and galvanising light. The work Golfe, Mer, Falaises Vertes from 1895 is a wonderful example of this.
Renoir’s nudes are remarkable for their naturalness, as the figures become one with their surroundings and the space dissolves, intensifying the dreamlike quality of the subjects. The opulent female figures reminiscent of ancient goddesses seem like images from the artist’s dreams, while he, tormented by rheumatic inflammation of the joints, emaciated and with contorted hands, attempts until the end to capture life in all its abundance.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Golfe, Mer, Falaises Vertes, 27 x 40 cm, €120,000 – €160,000
Find these magnificent artworks and many more in the Modern Art auction on 28 November.
View the full catalogue HERE.