Lot 130
  • 130

PIERRE-AUGUSTE RENOIR | Panneau de fruits et fleurs

250,000 - 350,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • Panneau de fruits et fleurs
  • stamped Renoir (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 27.3 by 46cm., 10 5/8 by 18 1/8in.
  • Painted in 1915.


Estate of the Artist
Sale: Palais Galliera, Paris, 12th June 1975, lot 98
Galeria Maison Bernard, Caracas
Ruth & Mauricio Kramer, New York (sale: Sotheby's, New York, 16th November 1989, lot 327)
Dianart Fine Arts Establishment, Geneva (purchased at the above sale)
Private Collection, Europe
Galerie Boulakia, Paris
Private Collection, U.S.A. (acquired from the above in September 2003; sale: Sotheby's, New York, 8th November 2007, lot 248)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Ambroise Vollard, Tableaux, Pastels et Dessins de Pierre-Auguste Renoir, San Francisco, 1989, no. 616, illustrated p. 156
Guy-Patrice & Michel Dauberville, Renoir, Catalogue Raisonné des Tableaux, Pastels, Dessins et Aquarelles, Paris, 2014, vol. V, no. 4058 L., illustrated p. 248


The canvas is lined. Examination under UV light reveals a layer of varnish preventing the UV light from fully penetrating, however there appears to be no signs of retouching. There are minor remnants of frame tape to all four extreme edges. There is some nice impasto to the yellow fruit. This work is in overall good condition.
"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. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

In Panneau de fruits et fleurs, Renoir captures the subtle luxury of the traditional nature morte while adhering to his impressionist sensibility. By 1915, Renoir’s practice had expanded beyond client commissions and dealer expectations, with still lifes accounting for a considerable part of his artistic production. Unlike portraiture, the still life genre allowed for increased subjectivity and improvisation, akin to the grand studies of light and colour executed by Renoir and Monet and showcased at the Impressionist group exhibitions in Paris. Fruit and flower displays provided Renoir with utmost visual autonomy, both over the still life itself and his perception of it. A 1988 retrospective of his work noted: 'For an artist enamoured with colour, still lifes provide a perfect subject - infinitely varied, malleable to any arrangement… Renoir himself said that when painting still lifes he was able to paint more freely and boldly, without the mental effort he made with a model before him.' (Renoir Retrospective (exhibition catalogue), Nagoya, Nagoya City Art Museum, 1988, p. 247).

Renoir does not depend upon the trompe l’œil tradition to imbue the fruits and flowers of the present work with a convincing realism. Rather, he looks to light and colour to convey the subject’s immediacy, be it in the bright yellow of the lemon or the candied orange of the ripened peaches. The effect is furthered by the swift brushwork indicative of the artist’s search to render light’s transient impression. A tactile application of paint alludes to the three-dimensionality of the weighted and rough lemon, which sits in stark contrast to the rising wisps of leafy green. Feathered flowers and polished wood visually frame the work, a luminous and textural feast for the eyes.

Although rooted in a traditional and allegorical genre, Renoir’s still life was the ready answer to a changing artistic climate, one which afforded greater artistic freedom. With regards to the expressive potential of the decorative Impressionist still-life, Renoir stated: 'What seems to me most significant about our movement is that we have freed painting from the importance of the subject. I am at liberty to paint flowers and call them flowers, without needing to tell a story' (quoted in Peter Mitchell, European Flower Paintings, London, 1973, pp. 211-12). 

Executed in 1915, this work was originally part of a large decoration which Renoir had intended to use as a frame for an important commission: Portrait de Madame de Galea (1915) (cf. Ambroise Vollard, Tableaux, pastels et dessins de Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paris, 1918, vol. I, no. 616, illustrated, p. 156).

This work is recorded in the archives of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute and will be included in the forthcoming Renoir Digital Catalogue raisonné, currently being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc.