This work will be included in the Renoir Catalogue critique being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute from the François Daulte, Durand-Ruel, Venturi, Vollard and Wildenstein archives.
Maurice Gangnat, Paris (acquired directly from the artist; sale: Hôtel Drouot, Vente Maurice Gangnat, Paris, 24-25 June 1925, lot 55)
M. Delaronce, Paris
Sale: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 19th June 1989, lot 70b
Private Collection (acquired circa 1990; sale: Christies, New York, 7th November 2007, lot 306)
This stunning work by Pierre-Auguste Renoir wonderfully captures the artist's devotion to the portrayal of the female form, and is a beautiful example of the artist's mature works. Renoir's model is portrayed as youthful and voluptuous, with her delicate dress draped off her shoulder, revealing her sensuous and ample bosom. The sitter's gently curling locks frame her rosy cheeks, betraying the flush of youth, and though her gaze is gentle and pensive, she remains decidedly alluring. As Colin B. Bailey notes, 'During the last thirty years of his life, [...] the artist touches new depths of affection and tenderness', an observation which proves true in this subtle and intimate portrait.
The model has not been formally identified, and the work is a remarkable example of Renoir's later aesthetic, where he dextrously blends the realism of the feminine physique with a more stylised and idealised vision of the female form. The result is a unique portrait depicting a monumental figure, transcending the constraints of time, which is both heavily indebted to the classical tradition, and yet which also boldly asserts its modernity.
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