Lot 4
  • 4

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Estimate
800,000 - 1,000,000 GBP
Sold
825,250 GBP
bidding is closed

Description

  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • MADEMOISELLE MARTHE LE CŒUR
  • signed A. Renoir (lower left)
  • oil on canvas

Provenance

Charles Le Cœur, Paris (father of the sitter)
Hector Brame, Paris
David David-Weill, Paris (acquired from the above in 1924)
Madame David David-Weill, Paris (by descent from the above)
Private Collection, Paris

Literature

Paul Dumas, 'Quinze tableaux inédits de Renoir', in La Renaissance de l'art français, July 1924, illustrated p. 368
Henri d'Ardenne de Tizac, 'La Collection David-Weill', in L'Amour de l'Art, Paris, January 1925, pl. XV, illustrated p. 8
La Collection David-Weill, Paris, 1926, vol. II, pp. 261-263
Douglas Cooper, 'Renoir, Lise and the Le Cœur Family: A Study of Renoir's Early Development. II: The Le Cœurs', in The Burlington Magazine, London, September-October 1959, fig. 37, illustrated pp. 328-329
François Daulte, Auguste Renoir. Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, Lausanne, 1971, vol. I, no. 90, illustrated
Elda Fezzi, L'Opera completa di Renoir nel periodo impressionista, 1869-1883, Milan, 1972, no. 111, illustrated p. 94
Guy-Patrice & Michel Dauberville, Renoir. Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, Paris, 2007, vol. I, no. 492, illustrated p. 489

Catalogue Note

Mademoiselle Marthe Le Cœur is a stunning example of Renoir's delicate portraits of children, executed with a remarkable elegance and gracefulness. The sitter Marthe Le Cœur, later Mme Paul Dupuy, was born in 1865, and was nine years old when Renoir painted this portrait of her. Marthe was the third of four children of Charles Le Cœur, the first owner of this work, and Marie Charpentier. The family lived in Paris, and in 1873 Charles Le Cœur acquired a country home at Fontenay-aux-Roses, a small village just south-west of the capital, and it was here that the present portrait was executed. The sitter's father, Charles Le Cœur, was an esteemed architect and had met Renoir through his brother Jules, also a painter and a close friend of the artist. Throughout the early 1870s he commissioned Renoir to paint several portraits of him, one of which is now in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, as well as portraits of his wife and four children.

 

It was paintings such as the present work that gained Renoir his reputation as the finest portrait painter of the Impressionist circle. He often depicted his own sons, Jean and Coco, as well as children of his friends and patrons. The critic Théodore Duret wrote: 'Renoir excels at portraits. Not only does he catch the external features, but through them he pinpoints the model's character and inner self' (T. Duret, reprinted in Histoire des peintres impressionnistes, Paris, 1922, p. 27). Depicting Marthe against a neutral background, Renoir brilliantly focuses the viewer's attention on the girl's hair and costume, and particularly on her delicate, yet expressive face. The refined depiction of her eyes and strong gaze, and the hint of rosy cheeks against her pale complexion, imbue this portrait with a wonderful sense of liveliness and character.

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