Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Vue du Mourillon
oil on canvas
46 x 56 cm
signed lower right: Renoir
Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris
Private Collection, Switzerland
Sale: Galerie Motte, Geneva, 27 November 1965, lot 71
Purchased at the above sale by the late owner
Renoir: an Exhibition of Paintings from European Collections in Aid of the Renoir Foundation, Marlborough Fine Art, London, May – June 1956, no. 11
D. Rouart, Renoir: an Exhibition of Paintings from European Collections in Aid of the Renoir Foundation (exhibition catalogue), London, 1956, no. 11, illustrated
This work will be included in the forthcoming Renoir Catalogue critique being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute and established from the archives of François Daulte, Durand-Ruel, Venturi, Vollard and Wildenstein.
This work will be included in the second supplement to the Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles de Pierre-Auguste Renoir being prepared by Guy Patrice Dauberville and Floriane Dauberville, published by Bernheim-Jeune.
Vue du Mourillon is a serene and evocative vision embodies the fresh spontaneity of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s later plein-air painting. Painted in 1890, the present work depicts a lush landscape in the Southern Mediterranean with rich green foliage, feathery vibrant blue brushstrokes and a sailboat visible in the distance. Unlike Camille Pissarro and Claude Monet who often depicted labourers in landscapes, Renoir preferred to focus on scenes of leisure. Discussing Renoir’s landscapes from this period and how they helped to shape the rest of his career, John House comments that Renoir’s paintings of the early 1890s were characterised by a ‘softer more supple handling… This harmonious interrelation of man and nature became a central theme in Renoir’s late work’ (Renoir (exhibition catalogue), Hayward Gallery, London; Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris & Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1985-1986, p. 262).
The late XIX century was a particularly prosperous time for Renoir, during which he began to achieve a degree of economic success. By this time, Renoir had become recognised as one of the foremost Impressionist painters and received a significant degree of financial support from the dealer Paul Durand-Ruel. This newfound financial freedom allowed him to paint en plein-air with greater frequency, finding that the freshness of natural light was much more desirable to studio work.
Vue du Mourillon is a vivid and bright composition created during this period of artistic growth. During this time, Renoir travelled to the south of France annually, motivated in part by his weakening health but also in search of fresh inspiration for new paintings. In a letter to Durand-Ruel, towards the end of one of his stays in the Mediterranean, Renoir comments on the glorious weather and his newfound delight in plein-air painting: ‘I am cramming myself with sunshine!’ He continued, ‘This landscape painter’s craft is very difficult for me, but these three months will have taken me further than a year in the studio. Afterwards I’ll come back and be able to take advantage at home of my experiments’ (quoted in Barbara Ehrlich White, Renoir: His Life, Art, and Letters, New York, 1984, p. 191).
The present work was acquired from Galerie Motte in 1965 by Annemarie Düringer and has remained in her family’s collection until the present day. A Swiss actress of extraordinary beauty, Düringer was a member of the prestigious Vienna Burgtheater where she was known for her portrayal of Queen Elisabeth in Schiller’s Maria Stuart.
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