This work will be included in the second supplement to the Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles de Pierre-Auguste Renoir being prepared by Guy Patrice Dauberville and Floriane Dauberville, published by Bernheim-Jeune.
The artist painted and sold many small still-life paintings during the later years of his life. At this stage in his career, Renoir could paint at leisure, no longer having to depend on client commissions or the expectations of his dealers. Nature Morte aux Pommes has a charmingly informal composition, imbuing a sense of invigorated freedom and spontaneity as the subject matter allows the experimentation of light and colour. Short, yet slightly feathery brushstrokes enhance the tactile nature of the pieces of fruit, animated by the vibrant colours and illuminating light which create dynamic shadows around the outline of the fruit arrangement. Renoir’s still-lifes inspired Paul Cézanne’s investigation of this theme, whose exploration of geometry and spatial perspective would change the direction of modern art. The present work exhibits Renoir’s enjoyment and appreciation for the still-life; he once told Albert André that it was in these small works that ‘he put the whole of himself, that he took every risk’ (Albert André, Renoir,Paris, 1928, p. 49). Nature Morte aux Pommes wonderfully displays how the pursuit of beauty was first and foremost Renoir’s artistic priority.
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