Sotheby’s Spotlight: Renoir & Jeanne Samary, Muse and Actress

Paris | 19 April

"He marries all the women he paints... with his brush." Jeanne Samary said that of the man who painted her portrait in 1878. This portrait dates from the first and very beautiful years of Impressionism, from the bourgeoning of the movement, one might say. Painted four years after the first Impressionist exhibition, it forms, with two other portraits of Jeanne Samary, a tribute to this very prominent young resident of the Comédie Française; one dates from 1877 and is kept in the Pushkin Museum; the other dates from 1878 and is part of the collections of the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg.

  "Renoir excelled in portraiture. Not only does he capture the external features, but, on the features, he fixes the character and the way of being of the model. I doubt if any painter has ever interpreted a woman in such a seductive way. Renoir's brush, quick and light, gives grace, suppleness, abandon, makes the flesh transparent, colours the cheeks and lips with a brilliant incarnation" (Théodore Duret, Les peintres impressionnistes, 1878)

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