Lot 375
  • 375

PIERRE-AUGUSTE RENOIR | Baigneuse au linge

700,000 - 1,000,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • Baigneuse au linge
  • Signed Renoir. (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 15 by 12 1/2 in.
  • 37.5 by 30.5 cm
  • Painted in 1914.


Alfred Daber, Paris (acquired circa 1954)
Wildenstein & Co., Paris
Private Collection, United States (acquired from the above on November 5, 1962)
Thence by descent


Paris, Alfred Daber, Pour mon plaisir: tableaux, acquarelles, dessins d'Ingres à Vuillard, 1954, no. 22, illustrated in the catalogue
Vevey, Switzerland, Musée Jenisch, Auguste Renoir, 1956, no. 82, illustrated in color in the catalogue


Ambroise Vollard, Tableaux, pastels & dessins de Pierre-Auguste Renoir, vol. I, Paris, 1918, no. 204, illustrated p. 51
Denis Rouart, Renoir, Geneva, 1954, illustrated in color p. 105
Guy-Patrice & Michel Dauberville, Renoir, Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, vol. V, Paris, 2014, no. 4318, illustrated p. 412


Please contact the Impressionist & Modern department at 212-606-7360 for a condition report prepared by a third-party conservator.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Nu assis is an exceptional example of Renoir's key subject: the female nude in a landscape. More than any other avant-garde painter of the late nineteenth century aside from Degas, Renoir focused his energy on the subject of the female nude, and the results he achieved were both unique and striking.

The development of Renoir's style in depicting nudes draws from both his early experience as an Impressionist painter and the influence of a trip he took to Italy in 1881, when he went to see works by Raphael and other Renaissance masters. Renoir's approach to this subject underwent a series of transformations in the 1870s and 1880s, creating an aesthetic that would become the epitome of Renoir's art. In Nu assis, a seated female bather sits in profile with her legs carefully draped in a billowy sheet, with her eyes either partially or fully closed. The outdoor setting is ambiguous, allowing the figure to fully dominate the composition. The cloth harkens back to the casually yet artfully draped cloths which populate Renaissance art.  When Renoir began painting with other Impressionist artists, he favored quick, loose brushstrokes, illustrating the effects of plein-air painting and natural light. Over the course of his career, Renoir began to stray from his emphasis of color over line after seeing the precision of forms and subtle coloration in the works of the Renaissance masters and the palette of the French Rococo artists. Émile Verhaeren, a contemporary poet and art critic of Renoir, highlighted the quality of Renoir's stylistic details in the present work, writing "Here...is an utterly new vision, a quite unexpected interpretation of reality to solicit our imagination. Nothing is fresher, more alive and pulsating with blood and sexuality, than these bodies and faces as he portrays them. Where have they come from, those light and vibrating tones that caress arms, necks, and shoulders, and give a sensation of soft flesh and porousness? The backgrounds are suffusions of air and light; they are vague because they must not distract us" (quoted in Gerd Muesham, ed., French Painters and Paintings from the Fourteenth Century to Post-Impressionism: A Library of Art Criticism, New York, 1970, pp. 511-12).

John House writes the following on Renoir's fascination with the subject of the female nude in outdoor settings: "On his travels Renoir painted many landscapes and informal outdoor subjects, but his more serious efforts were reserved for themes which tread the borderline between everyday life and idyll-themes with obvious echoes of eighteenth century art. He painted a long series of nudes, mainly young girls in outdoor settings, whom in a letter he called his 'nymphs.' Mainly single figures at first, he brought them together in groups around 1897 in several pictures of girls playing which translate the subject of the 1887 Bathers into a fluent informality very reminiscent of Fragonard's Bathers (see fig. 1) (John House in Renoir (exhibition catalogue), The Hayward Gallery, London, 1985, pp. 250-51).

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