This work will be included in the forthcoming Renoir Digital Catalogue Raisonné, currently being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc.
Published : Wynne Jeudwine, 'Modern Paintings from the Collection of W. Somerset Maugham' in Apollo, October 1956, ill. p. 106
Provenance : Durand-Ruel, Paris W. Somerset Maugham, Cap Ferrat (sold: Sotheby's, London, 10th April 1962, lot 31). Sotheby's, Tokyo, 3rd October 1969, lot 383. Kintetsu Department Store Co. Ltd., Tokyo. Private collection, Toyko (acquired from the above in August 1984). Edda Collection, USA (sold: Christie's, New York, 2nd November 2011, lot 272). Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale, February 2020, Sotheby’s, London. Private collection, London
Height of the figure - 6ft
One of the luminaries of the revolutionary Impressionist movement, French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir created an extraordinary artistic legacy with his fascinating canvases bearing shimmering landscapes, sublime female nudes, sun kissed bathers, and charming portraits.
Born to humble beginnings in 1841 in Limoges, France, Renoir was four years old when his father, who was a tailor, moved the family to Paris. Living in lodgings at rue d’Argenteuil, near the Louvre Museum, Renoir began to attend a local Catholic school. At the age of fourteen, the artist began an apprenticeship at a workshop, where he copied floral designs and other motifs on porcelain items. With the mechanisation of the porcelain trade, he moved to paint other decorative things like fans and blinds. In 1862, he joined the painting classes of the Swiss artist Charles Gleyre and was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts after a few months. During this time, the reputation of an artist and an assurance of a successful career depended on the reception of his works at the official Paris Salon. The artist tasted this success in 1864 with a painting titled ‘La Esmeralda,’ which marked Renoir’s debut at the Salon. Around the same time, he also met Édouard Manet, who was nine years his senior and whose unrestrained approach to art would serve as a profound influence on Renoir’s career.
Persistent financial difficulties marked the decade of the 1860s for Renoir, but it was also a crucial time for the development of the Impressionist movement. Possessing distinct artistic temperament, the generation of great French artists, including Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Paul Cézanne, Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir unified the movement to give a new voice to modern painting. By painting En Plein air or outdoors as opposed to in a studio, they sought to capture the scenic moments of nature under the effect of fleeting natural light. With loose brushstrokes, the works emerging out of the movement often carried an unpronounced depiction of the background and the subject without any remarkable distinction.
The first exhibition by the group was held in 1874, which also led to the naming after art critic Louis Leroy penned a scathing critique of the first exhibition in 1874 and titled his article, "The Exhibition of the Impressionists.” Quickly gaining favour among the masses and accepted by the group, the name would give birth to what we now know as the Impressionist movement of the late 19th century.
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