Life and training of embroiderers, £8.99
Height: 385.000 mm
Width: 302.000 mm
Bequeathed by César Mange de Hauke
Prints and Drawings
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Nude Woman Sitting, Drying her Right Foot, a red and white chalk drawing
France, AD 1880s
Renoir (1841-1919) began his career as a painter of porcelain in Limoges, aged thirteen, before studying with Sisley and Monet at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His early work flitted between sober academic painting and freer, more colourful en plein air ('open-air') work. He was, with Monet, at the forefront of the movement that became known as Impressionism. The two artists painted side-by-side on occasion, most famously for their paintings of the popular bathing-spot La Grenouillère (1869), then just outside Paris on the banks of the Seine.
Renoir's paintings were always light-hearted, with soft-feathered brushstrokes capturing fleeting movement and mottled light. His technique reached its peak in Ball at the Moulin de la Gallette (1876, Musée d'Orsay, Paris).
His later works concentrate on the female nude and he tended to emphasize simple forms and solidity, as well as relishing pink and orange flesh, as this study illustrates. Several versions of this pose survive, all probably intended as finished pieces rather than sketches for grander work.
Crippled by rheumatism in his last years, Renoir continued to paint with brushes jammed between his fingers. 'If painting were not a pleasure to me I should certainly not do it'.
A. Distel and J. House, Renoir (London, Arts Council of Great Britain, 1985)
B. E. White, Renoir: his life, art and lett (New York, Abrams, 1984)