Pierre Auguste Renoir Blog

Stolen Renoir painting leads cold, ice-cold


Feb 28 2012 08:59PM | by Staff Editor

Cast your mind, or mouse cursor, back, oh reader and you’ll discover that we covered the rather sensational theft of a Renoir painting a couple of months ago. The Renoir painting Madeleine Leaning On Her Elbow With Flowers In Her Hair was taken from the home of an art dealer after the homeowner was held up at gunpoint by an armed robber just after 10pm on September 8 in Texas, U.S.A. Well, do we have news for you, of sorts: a reward for information leading to its recovery has doubled to $50,000, with investigators stumped as to exactly where the painting is now, or who was responsible. One major problem facing the thief is that it would be extremely difficult for him or her to sell the oil painting. High-valued artwork means high attention, and for the most part, rich people buy expensive art to show it off: follow the logic and it means rich people don’t want to buy art that they can’t show off, and indeed, art that would land them in a spot of legal bother. In fact, a statistically analysis of stolen art has found that nearly 100% of all stolen art  - and this excludes... Read more

Renoir comprehensively reviewed


Feb 19 2012 09:27AM | by Staff Editor

Fans of Pierre Auguste Renoir take a deep breath: the Frick Collection in New York, U.S.A., has undoubtedly one of the best Renoir exhibitions for 2012, known as Renoir, Impressionism, and Full-Length Painting. That’s right: from winter to spring, they will present nine Renoir paintings that are famous for one distinction, being the only surviving full-length oil on canvas works to date. The works were associated with the official Paris Salon in the decade that saw the emergence of a fully fledged Impressionist aesthetic and thus occupy a monumental place in the history of art. How did this project get started? Curators were stimulated by La Promenade (as pictured), which was the most important Impressionist work in the Frick’s permanent collection. The Renoir painting serves as a supreme example of Renoir’s subject pictures and portraits from that time and is mammoth in size and intellectual scope. Renoir wanted the work to be publicly displayed thus the artist put in an almost supernatural amount of time and effort to create what are now considered pure masterpieces of Impressionism. The exhibition also includes the following full length works: La Parisienne (1874), from the National Museum Wales, Cardiff; The Umbrellas (c. 1881 and... Read more

Who Were The Boating Party And What Was For Lunch?


Jan 22 2012 09:49PM | by Staff Editor

It is probably one of the most famous works of art showing people dining together … aside from perhaps Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper (1495-1498) and maybe even Vincent Van Gogh’s The Potato Eaters (1885). Let’s change that to, it’s probably one of the most famous works of art showing people relishing dining together. After all, as someone whose artwork was as much a celebration of beauty and enjoyment, as it was an example of technical ability and compositional mastery, French Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir knew a thing or two about painting a good time. Throughout his oeuvre Renoir’s canvases are populated with figures that are full of life and vitality, with his skilful interplay of fluid brushstrokes, richness of form and delicate flickering light bringing them to life. Few of his works exhibit these qualities more successfully than his 1881 oil on canvas painting Le Déjeuner Des Canotiers, otherwise known as Luncheon Of The Boating Party, currently housed at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. The painting depicts of a group of men and women relaxing on the balcony of the open-air café Maison Fournaise, on the Ile de Chatou in the west of Paris. Like many of his... Read more

Renoir And Friends


Jan 10 2012 05:46PM | by Staff Editor

It is generally well known that French Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir was good friends with fellow Impressionists Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille. The four had after all trained together as developing artists at the atelier of Swiss artist Marc-Charles-Gabriel Gleyre in Paris, and had remained in close contact throughout their artistic careers. They discovered and experimented with the en plein air method together, helping to establish what would become known as the Impressionist style, and they also formed the core of the group of artists that gathered under the guidance of Édouard Manet at the Café Guerbois on the Avenue de Clichy in Paris - this group later expanded to include the likes of Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, Armand Guillaumin and Edgar Degas. At the time of the late 1860s and early 1870s it was Renoir, Monet, Sisley and Bazille who established the Société Anonyme Coopérative des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs (Cooperative and Anonymous Association of Painters, Sculptors and Engravers), which would eventually organise the First Impressionist Exhibition. The point is that Monet, Sisley and Bazille were the closest of Renoir’s Impressionist brethren, and this is reflected in a number of artworks that he produced that featured them as... Read more

Renoir’s Dance In The Country


Dec 27 2011 01:37PM | by Staff Editor

Pierre-Auguste Renoir has been described as the “final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to Watteau”. What was meant by this was that Renoir was an admirer of beauty and feminine sensuality and that his work was evocative of the Flemish Baroque painting of Peter Paul Rubens and the Rococo styling of Antoine Watteau. But although these artists utilised colour and movement in the same way Renoir so often did, they certainly weren’t his only artistic influences. Having emerged in the midst of the Impressionist movement, and having already created some of his most memorable works including The Theatre Box (1874), Bal Du Moulin De La Galette (1876) and Luncheon Of The Boating Party (1880), Renoir went through a final period of artistic maturation in 1881. He was 40 years old at the time, and whether it was due to his artistic desire to see the work of the great masters, or whether it was some sort of 19th Century cultural mid life crisis, Renoir went off on a little trip. He first travelled to Algeria and Northern Africa due to being a place that he strongly associated with the works of French Romanticist Eugene Delacroix, eventually... Read more

Renoir paintings, beautiful no matter how big or small


Nov 30 2011 06:01PM | by Staff Editor

Sometimes the world of selling and buying international art can be overwhelmed with a bit too much money and ego. What? Your Klimt only cost USD$5 million? Well, I spent USD$45 million on mine. In some ways, it is the popular analogy of the sports car as an extension of the, well, you know what, except that this is obviously for someone who feels they don’t like sports cars, or plainly can afford all the sports cars they want with some canvas artwork thrown in. The point we are trying to make is that there are literally thousands of paintings out there not truly appreciated, simply because their price tag fails to command multi-million figures. Two Renoir paintings fall into this aforementioned category. The first one was Le Bouquet (1910) sold on November 8 by the Heritage Auctions’ American & European Signature Art Auction. The painting didn’t make its way to Sotheby’s or Christie’s, but nevertheless managed to command a respectable price of $657,250. Auction house managing director Ed Beardsley noted collector interest was high and bidding was spirited, reflecting a strong market and the quality of the painting. Roses were, of course Renoir’s favourite flower to paint. This painting... Read more

Renoir paintings historic popularity


Nov 21 2011 11:16AM | by Staff Editor

Pierre-Auguste Renoir is best known as the most sensual of the Impressionists – sensual, of course, in his treatment of the feminie form, particularly his nudes and bathers. He has the distinction, alongside Degas, or being more a figure Impressionist rather than a landscape Impressionist in the mould of Monet, Pissarro or Sisley. Renoir, however, was not always as revered and popular as he is today. One of the earliest celebrators of his work and a most fervent collector was American industrialist and art collector Robert Sterling Clark (June 25, 1877 - December 29, 1956), who was one heir to the Singer Sewing Machine fortune and arguably America’s biggest fan of Renoir paintings. Sterling Clark (he was known by his middle name) first moved to Paris in 1910 when some of the Impressionists were still alive. Renoir, for example, only passed away nine years later. Clark, of course, had many homes around the world – his wealth meant he spent his days collecting art, breeding racehorses, and generally travelling around the globe. In 1916 Clark bought the Renoir painting Girl crocheting, because, as he later remarked, the sensuality and colour of the image was simply alluring. Clark began collecting French... Read more

A Renoir rose and other impressionist artwork


Oct 30 2011 11:19AM | by Staff Editor

It’s not often an exuberant Renoir painting with solid provenance and an affordable price tag makes its way into the public domain. But next month, on November 8, members of the public will have a chance to bid on Le Bouquet, a 1910 oil painting still life of roses. Expected to fetch about USD $500,000 it is the top lot at the Heritage Auctions’ American & European Art Signature Art Auction, to be held at the company’s Design District Annex. The Renoir oil painting’s history is nearly as rich as the illustration itself: famous Texan artist Lucien Abrams bought it in September 1933 from Renoir’s famous dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, who himself had acquired it from the Renoir family. Given its continuous and stable ownership it is billed as being in an “outstanding state of preservation” given the oil painting’s age. At 43.2cm x 31.8 cm, we’d think you’d be mad to pass up the chance to own an original Renoir oil painting. Another series of Renoir paintings come to the public from the estate of heiress Huguette Clark, who died earlier this year at 104. Clark’s father was former US senator William Clark and steely scion – her $100 million... Read more

Renoir in an impressionable new setting


Oct 18 2011 10:18AM | by Staff Editor

The Musée d’Orsay has just completed a 20 million Euro renovation, with particular attention paid to its fifth floor, where its Impressionist gallery is located. The renovation has been hailed as the most definitive facelift of a French museum since the Louvre and the famous glass pyramid – the Orsay spent its money over 18 months, with the majority of the project’s financing coming from its greatest asset – its Impressionist works. The museum loaned out its Degas, Monet and Renoir masterpieces for two years, which raised 11 million Euro – further financing came from an 18th month Chanel advertisement draped on the side of the museum, with the shortfall from donations. So exactly what will visitors get to see, and when? Visitors to the museum will see its new look from this week as the museum celebrates its anniversary since it was first turned into a museum in 1900 after Victor Laloux designed the original building as a railway station. The old train station’s engine house, known now as the Pavillon Amont, boasts four new levels to display Art Nouveau furniture and other decorative pieces. But most attention, and indeed money, was focused on the Impressionist gallery, which takes... Read more

$1 million Renoir stolen – may be leaving the U.S.A.


Oct 02 2011 12:19PM | by Staff Editor

It’s never nice to come home and have a (white) male with a ski mask and a semi-automatic gun asks you for cash or jewellery. But so it was, on the night of September 8 at 10pm, that the owner of a home in Houston, Texas, found himself in that exact situation. Frightened, the owner pointed to an oil painting on the wall and provided its estimated value. With the zeroes ringing in his brain the brazen thief grabbed the Renoir artwork, frame and all, and fled into the night. The Renoir artwork is entitled Madeline Leaning on Her Elbows with Flowers in Her Hair (1918), completed only one year before the painter’s death. The Renoir painting was part of a private collection at the River Oaks Vaughan Christopher Gallery, whose founder also owns the home where the theft happened. The oil painting has since been added to the FBI’s National Stolen Art File and the international organisation The Art Loss Register, meaning if it surfaces at any reputable dealer, recovery is a good chance. Ironically, only a few hours earlier and several hundred kilometres away, former FBI stolen art investigator Robert K. Wittman was giving a lecture at the... Read more

When is an appropriation not an appropriation?


Sep 18 2011 07:34PM | by Staff Editor

Stolen works during World War II have provided a near endless supply of wide ranging stories: from priceless works lost forever in the rubble of bombed buildings, to ones squirreled away into private collections where they’ll probably only see the public light of day for hundreds of years to come. Experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of artworks were stolen – so the few that do come to the public eye are rare and worth examining. The latest incident contains the Renoir painting, Paysage Pres de Cagnes (Landscape Near Cagnes), completed in the early 1900s, a story that reads like a Stieg Larsson novel. The narrative is a bit more complicated than your usual tale of stolen art. For one, it was bought legitimately in the United States in 1956 by steel magnate Newton Korhumel, where he displayed it in his home. However nine years ago Mr Korhumel died; his wife, Irene, died December last year, leaving the executor of their estate in a quandary. The executor decided to sell the painting through a Christie’s auction house in Chicago. It was officials at Christie’s who first became aware of the provenance of the painting, and alerted officials and representatives of... Read more

It runs in the family…Great oil painting, that is


Sep 04 2011 09:54PM | by Staff Editor

More often than not, the saying “it runs in the family” points to something negative, at least in a light hearted-sense. Yep, that big nose, runs in the family. Can’t help guzzling the booze bottle? Yep, that runs in the family. Oh, to be sure, good looks and brains run in the family as well… and, well, athletic and running skills run in the family as well. It is a good thing Renoir painting skills run in the family as well, at least in the work of Renoir’s great-grandson, Alexandre Renoir. According to Mr Alexandre Renoir’s biography from his own website, the young Renoir was born in Cagnes Sur Mer in the south of France in 1974. The province is notable because it is the same place where his illustrious forbearer died. Nevertheless, the young man and his family did not stay there for long. At the age of 4 his part of the Renoir clan moved to Canada; Alexandre still grew-up surrounded by art and artists, his biography notes, as if by implication there are less artists to be found in Canada than in France. Anyway, if you are not immediately familiar with the name Renoir, you should at... Read more

Renoir paintings – grace in the everyday


Aug 08 2011 09:49AM | by Staff Editor

“I like painting best when it looks eternal without boasting about it: an everyday eternity, revealed on the street corner: a servant-girl pausing a moment as she scours a saucepan, and becoming a Juno on Olympus” – Renoir Pierre Auguste Renoir was famed for his sensual nudes and depiction of women in particular, but an often understated element of Renoir artwork was his depictions of everyday men and women. To put it in contemporary vernacular, he would paint the girl next door, or the local boy who waits tables at the local diner. It is here that we can explore some of Renoir’s most charming and imitable work. Sure, we can always consider his megaworks which sell for gazillions of dollars – but what of those which capture something we take for granted every day? The first example of this can be found in the Renoir painting, A Waitress at Duval’s Restaurant, circa 1875. The scene is one of several restaurants in Paris started by a famous butcher named Duval. The restaurant was known somewhat in an opposite context to hooters: a restaurant guide from the day (the 1881 Baedeker guidebook) described the chain of restaurants as having an affordable... Read more

Renoir and the sculpture wars


Jul 24 2011 10:03PM | by Staff Editor

As alluded to in the previous blog, Renoir has perhaps received too much recognition for his widely-lauded sculptures. Created towards the end of his life when the famous painter was increasingly frail and losing control of his hands (after a stroke and arthritis), Renoir relied heavily on a relatively unknown sculptor to help him create his sculptures. If indeed Renoir has too much recognition, just who was the man who lacked it? The artist at the centre of claims (including transatlantic lawsuits for creative and financial rights and proceeds) was a young Spanish sculptor, Richard Guino. The two were introduced in 1913 by Renoir’s dealer, Ambroise Vollard, and the pair worked together for five years until 1918. It is this period that is widely disputed between Renoir’s and Guino’s surviving families: at the crux of the Guino argument is that Guino’s contributions have been erased from the history books, replaced instead by the myth of Renoir’s sole and undisputed mastery of sculpture. The people making the claims are Guino’s children, Michel and Marie, who assert that their father was the central creator of the sculptures, and that Vollard schemed with Renoir to sell the sculptures for a large profit because... Read more

Pierre Auguste Renoir paintings and sculptures: a man of many talents


Jul 11 2011 11:47AM | by Staff Editor

View any Renoir paintings and you’re immediately struck by the fullness of forms, the true conveyance of perception and the almost human feel to his sensual, and mostly feminine, figures. He celebrated beauty, and the basis of this beauty was Renoir’s love and use of sculptures to define the human form. But many art enthusiasts often overlook this part of Renoir’s oeuvre – just how significant was its role in his more celebrated oil paintings? To be clear, this is part one of two posts. This post will examine Renoir’s role in his sculptures, while part two will focus more on Richard Guino (as we’ll soon explain). Sculpting and painting often combine in the biographies of the great artists. Degas, Renoir, Modigliani, Michelangelo and many others all dabbled and produced sculptures while painting. Sculpting is, of course, a very practical method to visualise and practice one’s creation of the human form. This was no different for Renoir, who embraced the art throughout his life, but significantly in his later years. Renoir’s early sculptures consist of practical and model work - in 1879, he shaped a mirror frame consisting of skillfully sculpted flowers for Madamae Charpentier. This, however, was not the... Read more

Renoir at the Muscatine and at the TEFAF Maastricht 2011


May 24 2011 10:44AM | by Staff Editor

There’s been some significant movement of Renoir works as of late, with the two most noteworthy events concerning an anonymous buyer at The European Fine Art Fair 2011 (TEFAF) and a donation to the Muscatine Art Center in May. Firstly, let’s take a quick look at TEFAF and the significant sale that saw a Renoir painting change hands for about US $15 million. TEFAF is billed as the world’s greatest fine art fair, with academics, art critics, dealers and collectors traveling from around the globe to attend. It is held in Maastricht, Netherlands, and is renowned for the high quality of works and rigorous standards: every item is checked for authenticity by one of 29 vetting committees, themselves comprised of over 175 internationally respected experts. Each work you see on display is no doubt an original, and each comes with a hefty price tag. The most significant Renoir work on offer was no exception. Entitled Femme cueillant des Fleurs c 1874, translated to woman picking flowers, the image represents a pivotal moment in Renoir paintings as the artist pioneers a transition into the Impressionist style and technique. The subject of the painting also carries a beautiful and tragic element: the... Read more

Renoir Painting Sent Through the Mail is Confiscated


May 03 2011 09:37AM | by Staff Editor

Owning a painting by Pierre Auguste Renoir is a big responsibility. You must care for the painting properly to ensure that it isn't damaged through heat, smoke or environmental damage. You must ensure the painting, in case something happens beyond your control that causes you to lose your investment. You may be asked to loan the paintings for public viewings. And if you send the painting out of the country, you may be required to pay a tax on the export. One such owner in the small Polish town of Konstancin-Jeriorna decided to abdicate all of his responsibilities. He packed a painting by Renoir in a brown envelope, bought a stamp worth $3 USD (or £2) and sent the painting to a post office box in the United States. Officials in Poland intercepted the painting. The Renoir painting in question is entitled "Paysage Arbore," and it depicts a swirling landscape of pink and blue. One tree stands in the center of the image, and the sea appears in the background. The style in the painting is truly Impressionistic, with colors blending and blurring together in fast, thick brushstrokes. Officials at the Warsaw National Museum recently determined that the painting was... Read more

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Pierre Auguste Renoir


Apr 26 2011 12:22PM | by Staff Editor

Paintings by Renoir are known for their joy and delicate beauty. The Renoir Boating Party along with the series of Renoir bathers contain such joyful models, seeming so content and pleased, that it's easy to forget that many of these paintings by Renoir were generated when the artist was enduring severe pain. Renoir lived with rheumatoid arthritis for the last 25 years of his life. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body's own immune system attacks the lining of the joints. Bone begins to erode and the joints begin to swell. In late stages of rheumatoid arthritis, the fingers, hands and feet can all become twisted and deformed. The disease can also cause fatigue and chills. Symptoms tend to come and go, although there is no cure for the disease. Newer medications may help people with rheumatoid arthritis prevent severe bone damage, but those medications weren't available when Renoir was alive. Renoir combated his disease by staying active, walking while he could and juggling and playing billiards. He also combated the disease through painting. For Renoir, painting was the best therapy. As the disease progressed, Renoir began to lose dexterity. He attached his palette of paints to... Read more

Renoir Painting Part of Super Bowl Wager


Apr 10 2011 06:04PM | by Staff Editor

Betting on the outcome of the Super Bowl isn't new. People often enjoy a friendly wager on the game, as it makes the game slightly more personal. Additionally, Super Bowl bets allow the participants to participate in some mild trash talk. Wagers can be made with the statement, "Of course I'll win! I look forward to the money you'll give me." This year, the Pittsburgh Carnegie Museum of Art and the Milwaukee Art Museum held a wager of their own. The winner would host a piece of art from the other museum's collection. By now, we all know that the Pittsburgh Steelers lost the Super Bowl this year, meaning that the Pittsburgh Carnegie Museum of Art had to pay their debt. As their wager, the Carnegie Museum put up a Renoir painting called Bathers with Crab . This is a suitable painting for a wager, as the painting itself is of a sort of contest. In this painting by Renoir, three nude women sit on the beach. One mischievous woman taunts another woman with a bright red crab, as the woman being teased holds her hands over her head to protect herself. The spirit of the painting is jolly and... Read more