Lot 108
  • 108

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Estimate
250,000 - 350,000 USD
Sold
365,000 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • Ésquisse de paysage du Midi
  • Stamped Renoir. (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas

Provenance

Galerie Le Portique, Paris
Gallery Thannhauser, Berlin (acquired before 1928)
Galleries Thannhauser, Lucerne (acquired from the above in 1932)
Justin Thannhauser, Paris & New York (acquired from the above in 1937 and sold: Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, April 12, 1945, lot 95)
Marguerite Wyler, Harrison, New York (and sold: Christie's, New York, May 15, 1986, lot 27)
Royal Art Ltd., New Orleans
Acquired from the above in 1983

Exhibited

Paris, Thannhauser Galleries, 1939

Literature

Bernheim-Jeune, ed., L'Atelier de Renoir, vol. II, Paris, 1931, no. 392, illustrated pl. 127
Guy-Patrice & Michel Dauberville, Renoir, Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, vol. IV, Paris, 2012, no. 2906, illustrated p. 137

Catalogue Note

This vibrant landscape is exemplary of Renoir’s late pastoral scenes, where flurries of color and wild brushwork create an image of visceral, unbridled nature. However, unusually for an artist whose landscapes normally feature bathers, readers, walkers or prominent architecture, man’s relatively inconsequential presence can only just be felt in this painting, in the small white houses that dot the landscape at its very horizon. But Renoir, his brushstrokes visible in the patches of thick impasto, does strive to make his presence felt, trying to cross the breach between the civilized and the wild, the tamed and the untameable. Indeed, this whole painting is an exercise in balance; for every florid detail Renoir provides a patch of sketchy nothingness; every jubilant yellow finds its match in a dash of violet; for each green, a slash of scarlet sits nearby. Each of these opposites (and the compromises Renoir creates between them) serves the purpose of Renoir’s landscape as a whole, which tries to temper reality with representation, and a very dynamic subject matter with a static medium. It is this vitality that Vincent van Gogh had so admired in Renoir’s work. Writing to his brother Théo in 1885, he had said that Renoir reminded him that “there is life in every pencil stroke” (quoted in Keith Wheldon, Renoir and his Art, New York, 1975, p. 120), casting a different light on the artistic dialogue between the two painters (see fig. 1). By the time Ésquisse de paysage du midi was executed in 1910, Renoir’s vivacity was much matured; his painting is bursting with even more rhythm and vibrating color than his earlier landscapes. His desire for “people to feel that neither my figures nor my trees are flat” (quoted in Renoir (exhibition catalogue), New York, 1985, p. 278) is certainly fulfilled in this landscape.
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