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. Renoir once said of his flower pictures, "What seems to me most significant about our movement [Impressionism] is that we have freed painting from the importance of the subject. I am at liberty to paint flowers and call them flowers, without their needing to tell a story" (quoted in Peter Mitchell, European Flower Painters, London, 1973, pp. 211-12).
The first owner of the present work was the actor, director and writer of Boulevard theatre, Sacha Guitry. Guitry wrote a poem referring to Jetée de roses and his passion for collecting:
I do not know if when we have Viscose
We no longer see life in black,
But if you have a Renoir
I know we see life in pink!
For I have preached an example—and I welcome it.
Degas, Manet, Rodin—paintings, drawings, statues.
Yes, my works, that's how I list them
And that is how I locate them.
They are one hundred and twenty already in my house—witnesses
That I offered myself to myself. Witnesses Of the hundred and twenty pieces I made
—Sacha Guitry, op. cit., pp. 73-74, translated from the French
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