As was noted at the time of a retrospective exhibition in 1988, still-lifes were a reoccurring subject throughout Renoir's œuvre, ‘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). Ultimately, Esquisse de fleurs is an exquisite example of Renoir’s mature exposition of the subject.
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