Lot 43
  • 43


1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
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  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • La Mer à Bordighera
  • Stamped Renoir (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 11 by 17 1/8 in.
  • 28.1 by 43.4 cm
  • Painted circa 1888.


Ambroise Vollard, Paris (acquired from the artist)

M. Knoedler & Co., New York

French Art Galleries, Inc., New York (acquired from the above in 1953)

Mr. & Mrs. David Findlay, Connecticut (and sold by the estate: Christie's, New York, May 4, 2004, lot 16)

Acquired at the above sale


Ambroise Vollard, Tableaux, Pastels et Dessins de Pierre-Auguste Renoir, vol. II, Paris, 1918, illustrated p. 56

Guy-Patrice & Michel Dauberville, Renoir, Catalogue Raisonné des Tableaux, Pastels, Dessins et Aquarelles, vol. II, Paris, 2009, no. 876, illustrated p. 115

Catalogue Note

"What lovely landscapes, with distant horizons and the most beautiful colors… the delicacies of hue are extraordinary… alas, our poor palette can’t match up to it" enthused Renoir during his first trip to the Mediterranean coast in December 1883 (quoted in Renoir (exhibition catalogue), Hayward Gallery, London, 1985, p. 239). Together with Claude Monet Renoir spent about ten days traveling along the coast of France and Italy, visiting Saint-Raphaël, Monte Carlo and Bordighera. Towards the end of the trip Renoir wrote in a letter to Durand-Ruel: "We are delighted with our trip. We’ve seen marvelous things, we’ll probably bring back nothing or not much, because we’ve been mostly on the move, but what a trip! One has to stay much longer to do something… We’ve seen everything, or just about, between Marseilles and Genoa. Everything is superb. Vistas of which you have no idea. This evening the mountains were pink.… St.-Raphaël, Monte Carlo, and Bordighera are virgin stands of pine trees"(quoted in B. Ehrlich White, Renoir: His Life, Art, and Letters, New York, 1984, p. 135). Enchanted by the quality of light and exotic nature rich with fragrance and dazzling color, Monet returned to Bordighera almost immediately in January 1884, while Renoir’s next visit to the Riviera did not take place until 1888. Having stayed with Cézanne at Aix-en-Provence in in February and March of that year, Renoir based himself in Martigues near Marseille, from where he visited Bordighera and Antibes. While Monet’s depictions of Bordighera focused primarily on the lush greenery surrounding the town, in the present composition Renoir turned his attention to the sea. He evidently painted La Mer à Bordighera on a cool, cloudy day, with the sea a deep blue and green tone and the pink clouds reflected on the water surface. Furthermore, windy conditions are indicated by the slanting shapes of the three sailboats in the distance, as well as by the quick brushstrokes of white pigment suggesting waves rolling towards the shore.

This work will be included in the forthcoming Renoir Digital Catalogue Raisonné, currently being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc.