- Pierre-Auguste Renoir
- Glaïeuls dans un vase
- Signed A. Renoir (lower right)
- Oil on canvas
Comte Armand Doria, Paris (acquired from the above on July 18, 1876. Sold: Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 4-5, 1899, lot 210)
Galerie Durand-Ruel & Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris (jointly purchased at the above sale)
Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the above on Feburary 28, 1900)
Georg Hartmann, c/o Monsieur Ernst Vischer, Frankfurt (acquired from the above on April 2, 1925 and thence by descent)
Wildenstein Gallery, New York (acquired from the above)
Private Collection (acquired from the above on January 22, 1986)
Private Collection (acquired from the above and sold: Sotheby's, New York, Tuesday, May 3, 2005, lot 16)
Acquired at the above sale
Paris, Manzi, Joyant & Cie, Exposition d'Art Moderne, 1912, no. 188
London, The National Gallery, 2007-2015 (on loan)
Elda Fezzi, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Renoir période impressionniste 1869-1883, Paris, 1985, no. 194, illustrated p. 97
Guy-Patrice & Michel Dauberville, Renoir, Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, 1858-1881, vol. I, Paris, 2007, no. 28, illustrated p. 124 (titled Les glaïeuls and dated circa 1875)
What is particularly remarkable in this picture is the artist’s ability to replicate the pure luxuriance of a floral arrangement. As was the case for many of the Impressionist painters, Renoir did not need to rely on the trompe l’oeil techniques that had been utilized by artists for centuries in order to render this bouquet so convincingly. Instead, he drew upon his own creative ingenuity and his initial impressions of the image, rendering it with extraordinary freshness. Few artists of his generation would approach this subject with the richness and sensitivity that is demonstrated in this picture and in others that he completed in the 1870s.
John House has proposed that Renoir probably began this picture in 1874, when he was still including his middle initial in his signature. Renoir was on the verge of great celebrity at this point, and he was in the process of crafting the artistic identity that would win him many lucrative commissions over the next few years. His decision to paint a still-life, a subject with a broad-ranging appeal, was instrumental in attracting the attention of affluent, socially prominent Parisians who were beginning to form significant collections of Impressionist art. After he completed it, Renoir’s dealer, Durand-Ruel, sold this work to one of the most important early collectors of Impressionist painting, Count Armand Doria. Before he died in 1896, Count Doria became an avid collector of Renoir's work, acquiring this picture, as well as his famous Café Concert.
It is not surprising that a floral still-life, especially one as lush and abundant as this, would have appealed to Renoir. Both he and Monet painted several more during the years that followed, and perhaps it was the success of the present work that encouraged Renoir to continue to paint still-lifes of flowers. As was noted at the time of a retrospective exhibition in 1988, "For an artist enamoured with color, flowers provide a perfect subject -- infinitely varied, malleable to any arrangement. Several of Renoir's most beautiful paintings... are flower pieces. Renoir painted many pictures of flowers in addition to the more numerous figures and landscapes. Flowers appear frequently in his paintings as hat decorations or as part of the landscape behind figures even when they are not the main motif. Renoir himself said that when painting flowers he was able to paint more freely and boldly, without the mental effort he made with a model before him. Also, he found the painting of flowers to be helpful in painting human figures" (Renoir Retrospective (exhibition catalogue), Nagoya City Art Museum, 1988, p. 247).