Le repos by Pierre Auguste Renoir

  • This intimate nude portrait was composed by the renowned Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • It recalls the tradition of the classical nudes of the Renaissance and Academicism
  • The work's modern color palette and languid brushwork exemplifies his fully developed style
  • Renoir's depictions of nudes are some of the greatest triumphs of Impressionism
  • Get complete item description here
Price available upon request Item No. 31-3559

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir
1841-1919 | French

Le repos

Signed “Renoir” (lower left)
Oil on canvas

This intimate portrait by Impressionism’s leading figure painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir captures the visage of a reclining nude in a quiet, private moment. Entitled Le repos, this exceptional oil on canvas examines feminity, one of Renoir’s favorite themes, and exhibits the artist's soft brushwork, rich color palette and a celebration of beauty and warmth that are essential to Renoir's compositions.

Renoir is most celebrated for his figural work, especially his female nudes in private moments, like the present work. The figure is reminiscent of the classical nudes of the Renaissance and Academicism (Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ odalisques come to mind), but she is infused with Renoir’s signature softness and subtlety, reinvigorating the centuries-old tradition of the nude. Representing ideal feminine beauty, her gently contoured form is rendered with a casual grace and timelessness that define the best of Renoir’s female figures. This particular piece bears striking similarities to Renoir nudes currently at the Musée d'Orsay (Paris), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and the Tate (London). 

The work also reveals his genius for complementary colors with its bold turquoises and subtle greens paired with the rich gold of the cushions and the pale pink of the figure’s form. Characteristic of Renoir's Impressionist style, the loose, fluid brushwork of the background emphasizes the two-dimensional surface of the canvas. The flat color reflects Renoir's interest in Japanese prints, while the style is distinctly modern.

Born in Limoges, France in 1841, Renoir began his career as an apprentice to a painter of porcelain wares. He later moved to Paris at the age of 21, enrolling at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts. It was here, while studying under Charles Gleyre, that Renoir attained a tremendous appreciation for the academic style of painting, a quality that would last throughout his career. This was also when he met Claude Monet and several other classmates, with whom he would later form the Impressionists.

Working closely with Monet, Renoir began experimenting with the portrayal of light and its effect on his canvases. The youngest member of the Impressionist movement, Renoir astutely recognized how a subject was constantly changing due to the dynamic effects of light on color. Renoir distinguished himself among his contemporaries by relying heavily on his academic training that focused on composition, lines and descriptive details. His intuitive use of color and expansive brushstroke, along with acute attention to his subject, have placed him among the finest painters in history.

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the work of Pierre-Auguste Renoir from the Wildenstein Plattner Institute.

Circa 1896

Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the artist on November 23, 1898)
Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the above)
Paul Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York
Private collection, France (by descent from above, 1922)
Private collection, San Diego (acquired from above through Galerie Daniel Malingue, Paris, 1997)
Christie’s sale (2004)
Private collection, Louisiana
M.S. Rau, New Orleans

San Diego Museum of Art, Idol of the Moderns: Pierre-Auguste Renoir and American Painting, June 29-September 15, 2002, no. 6, p. 72 (ill. p. 52, as “Reclining Nude”)
Traveled to El Paso Museum of Art as part of the above exhibition, November 3, 2002-February 16, 2003
California, Bakersfield Museum of Art, Lightness of Being, December 2003-April 2004

Canvas: 10 1/2" high x 16 1/8" wide
Frame: 19 1/4" high x 24 3/4" wide
Le repos by Pierre Auguste Renoir
Maker: Renoir, Pierre-Auguste
Period: 1816-1918
Origin: France
Type: Paintings
Depth: 2.0 Inches
Width: 24.75 Inches
Height: 19.25 Inches
Style: Impressionism
Canvas Width: 16 1/8 Inches
Canvas Height: 10 1/2 Inches

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