44
44

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED JAPANESE PRIVATE COLLECTION

Pierre-Auguste Renoir
LA TOILETTE
Estimate
4,000,0006,000,000
LOT SOLD. 3,525,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
44

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED JAPANESE PRIVATE COLLECTION

Pierre-Auguste Renoir
LA TOILETTE
Estimate
4,000,0006,000,000
LOT SOLD. 3,525,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York

Pierre-Auguste Renoir
1841-1919
LA TOILETTE
Signed Renoir and dated 85 (lower right)
Oil on canvas
20 1/8 by 14 5/8 in.
51 by 37 cm
Painted in 1885.
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This work will be included in the Catalogue Critique being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute from the François Daulte, Durand-Ruel, Venturi, Vollard and Wildenstein archives.

Provenance

Durand-Ruel, Paris & New York (acquired in November 1886)

Sir William van Horne, Montreal (acquired from the above on on July 25, 1890 and sold from his Estate: Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, January 24, 1946, lot 7)

Jan Deyn (acquired from the above)

Private Collection, Monaco

Alex Reid & Lefevre (The Lefevre Gallery), London (after February 1971)

Acquired on October 1, 1976

Exhibited

Montreal, The Art Association, A Selection From the Collection of Paintings of the Late Sir William van Horne, K.C.M.G., 1843-1915, 1933, no. 145

Tokyo, Bridgestone Museum of Art & Nagoya, City Art Museum, Renoir: from Outsider to Old Master, 1870-1892, 2001, no. 46, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Literature

François Daulte, Auguste Renoir, Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint, Lausanne, 1971, vol. I, no. 491, illustrated

Barbara Ehrlich White, Renoir: His Life, Art and Letters, New York, 1984, illustrated p. 159

Nicholas Wadley (ed.), Renoir: A Retrospective, New York, 1987, illustrated p. 167

Guy-Patrice & Michel Dauberville, Renoir, Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, vol. II, Paris, 2009, no. 1301, illustrated p. 384

Catalogue Note

Renoir's depictions of bathers are among the most celebrated works of Impressionist art, and La Toilette epitomizes the artist's mastery of this subject.  The composition dates from 1885, when Renoir's reputation as a figure painter was firmly established among the avant-garde.  Setting his model in a idyllic landscape that is free of any contemporary associations, he positions her with a twist in her torso to accentuate the curvature of her body and with her arms raised above her head to allow for the casual nudity of her exposed breast.  It was with these visually sumptuous depictions of women that Renoir became the leader of the avant-garde in the 1880s.

When Renoir began painting with other Impressionist artists, he favored quick, loose brushstrokes, illustrating the effects of plein-air painting and natural light, shown in Nu au soleil of 1875. During the 1880s, Renoir began to stray from his emphasis of color over line after seeing the precision of forms and subtle light coloration in the works of the Renaissance masters and the palette of the French Rococo artists. Emile Verhaeren, a contemporary poet and art critic of Renoir, summed up the artist's paintings of this period and highlights the quality of Renoir's stylistic details illustrated in the present work. Verhaeren writes, "Here... is an utterly new vision, a quite unexpected interpretation of reality to solicit our imagination.  Nothing is fresher, more alive and pulsating with blood and sexuality, than these bodies and faces as he portrays them.  Where have they come from, those light and vibrating tones that caress arms, necks, and shoulders, and give a sensation of soft flesh and porousness?  The backgrounds are suffusions of air and light; they are vague because they must not distract us" (quoted in G. Muesham, ed., French Painters and Paintings from the Fourteenth Century to Post-Impressionism: A Library of Art Criticism, New York, 1970, pp. 511-12).

The greatest manifestation of this technique is seen in Renoir's Les Grandes baigneuses of 1887. Renoir began to exchange the immediacy of scenes of everyday life with the permanence of more traditional subject matter, as well as the influence of classical painting techniques. La Toilette is likely an antecedent to the aforementioned 1887 painting, as well as a bold representation of the developing style that would govern Renoir's art in years to come.  John House writes the following on Renoir's fascination with the subject of the female nude in outdoor settings: "On his travels Renoir painted many landscapes and informal outdoor subjects, but his more serious efforts were reserved for themes which tread the borderline between everyday life and idyll-themes with obvious echoes of eighteenth century art.  He painted a long series of nudes, mainly young girls in outdoor settings, whom in a letter he called his 'nymphs.'  Mainly single figures at first, he brought them together in groups around 1897 in several pictures of girls playing which translate the subject of the 1887 Bathers into a fluent informality very reminiscent of Fragonard's Bathers (Musée du Louvre, Paris)" (J. House, Renoir (exhibition catalogue), London, The Hayward Gallery, 1985, pp. 250-51).

One of the first collectors to own La Toilette was William Cornelius van Horne (1843-1915), President of the Canadian Pacific Railway.  Van Horne amassed a large collection of Impressionist art that he acquired from Durand-Ruel galleries in New York, including works by Cézanne, Cassatt, Monet, Pissarro and other canvases by Renoir. The picture remained with the Estate until it was sold in New York in 1946. 

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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New York