DescriptionPIERRE-AUGUSTE RENOIR (French, 1841-1919)
Le Port de Saint-Tropez
Oil on canvas
6-3/4 x 10-1/2 inches (17.1 x 26.7 cm)
Signed lower right: Renoir
Ambroise Vollard, Paris;
Private collection, Paris;
Christie's, Paris, Art Impressionniste et Moderne, May 24, 2006, lot 61;
Lexington Trust, Beverly Hills, California;
European private collection, acquired May 2012.
G.-P. and M. Dauberville, Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, Volume III (1895-1902), Paris, 2010, p. 137, illus.,
A. Vollard, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, peintures, pastels et dessins, Paris, 1918, p. 273, no. 1291.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir's decades-long love affair with the South of France blossomed during the 1890s in response as much to medical complications as to a desire to identify new light-infused landscapes for his Impressionist experiments. By 1891, deteriorating health, including respiratory illnesses and severe rheumatoid arthritis crippling his hands, prompted him to seek warmer climes for therapy. From roughly January through April, he and his family rented houses throughout Provence, from Nîmes to Nice, replacing cold Paris with spa treatments and sunny promenades. Despite these physical setbacks, Renoir was succeeding professionally, thanks in part to his dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, and by 1900 his paintings were selling for upwards of 22,000 francs, topping the highest prices for a Cézanne or a Monet. He was also flourishing personally, re-experiencing the joys of fatherhood in his sixties with the birth of his third son in 1901. When a nine-acre estate in Cagnes on the Mediterranean, Les Collettes, became available for sale in 1907, the Renoirs readily seized the opportunity to relocate to the South. His paintings of the Côte d'Azur from this happy early 20th-century period exhibit a new energy and freedom that persist for the remainder of his career.
The colorful and joyful Le Port de Saint-Tropez likely dates to the early 1900s when the Renoirs were still actively traveling throughout the South of France. Renoir had painted a larger canvas of the subject, Saint-Tropez, France, around 1898-1900 (now in the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, England), which featured a cloud-swept sky over a stretch of beach, and in a more pastel palette. In Le Port de Saint-Tropez, his brushstrokes are sketchier, in fact livelier, partially due to his growing arthritis, and his palette is rooted in the cobalt blues, emerald greens, and orange reds that characterize his 20th-century paintings. Here, Renoir captures the bustling harbor activity of Saint-Tropez, foregrounding sailboats and shoreline strollers, both signs of the city's robust tourism. His vibrant paintings of this area no doubt influenced the next generation of Post-Impressionists like Paul Signac, who further popularized Saint Tropez as a tourist destination.
The Wildenstein Institute will include this painting in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, established from the archives of François Daulte, Durand-Ruel, Venturi, Vollard, and Wildenstein. In addition, this painting is indexed by Sirs Guy-Patrice and Michel Dauberville in the archives of Bernheim-Jeune as an authentic work. This lot is accompanied by a photocopy of an inclusion certificate, dated May 9, 2006.
More information about PIERRE-AUGUSTE RENOIR, also known as Renoir, Pierre-Auguste, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Renoir, Auguste, Renoir, Pierre August, Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
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