Within the present work, verdant foliage moves gently in the breeze against the background of a warm blue sky, while the entire scene appears to be suffused with sunlight. Flurries of color create an image of visceral, unbridled nature. Renoir, his brushstrokes visible in the free-form manner of the composition, strives to make his own presence felt, trying to cross the breach between the civilized and the wild, the tamed and the untamable.
Renoir adored the South of France and spent an increasing amount of time there before moving permanently to the area in 1897 (see fig. 1). Having suffered from the effects of rheumatoid arthritis prior to his move, Renoir found the warmth and sunlight of this more benign climate beneficial to his health, and produced some of the most charming and attractive landscapes of his entire career from the mid-1890s onward which depict the southern Midi region. Renoir further cemented his close connection to the South of France with the purchase of a countryside property near Cagnes in 1907, Les Colettes, where the artist and his family enjoyed a relaxed and happy existence. Through the lively brushwork and calming palette the present work is a fiercely optimistic pastoral image that “compensated for his own sickness, emaciation and physical paralysis” (Barbara Ehrlich White, Renoir, His Life, Art and Letters, New York, 1984, p. 229).
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