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  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
    Feb 25, 1841 – Dec 3, 1919
  • Spring Bouquet - Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that "Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to Watteau", he was noted for his radiant, intimate paintings, particularly of the female nude.
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Spring Bouquet
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  • Spring Bouquet

  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
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  • $114.95
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  • 1866
    Oil on canvas
    Fogg Museum of Art, United States.

    For all its apparent looseness, this painting Spring Bouquet has a precise structure. The flowers spill over into the lower left-hand corner in joyous profusion, with an asymmetry as free and as wild as nature. But at once the artist proceeds to counter this unbalance. To the right of the vase, Renoir has developed a heavy shadow area, rich in purples, shaggy in contour, and sharply contrasted with the pool of light below it. Especially important is the placing of the ruler-straight lines in the lower right side of the canvas. In the setup from which Renoir painted there was perhaps no such line as the diagonal which breaks into a zigzag in the extreme corner; yet something of the kind is patently necessary. If the reader will cover this diagonal, he will see that the composition becomes lopsided.

    This leads to an awareness of the basic structure. The composition is held in two triangles: a lower one with its apex at the rim of the bowl under the flowers; and the other with its apex at the top of the bouquet.

    The Impressionist technique had not yet evolved when Renoir painted this picture. The brushing here is bold, the pigment fat and rich, suggesting the influence of Gustave Courbet. And instead of a generalized effect of luminous color, which will later suggest flowers rather than depict them, here the petals are separate and distinct.

    Yet the canvas glows with light and color, indicating that Impressionism is just around the corner; there is something of that school in the feeling of the out-of-doors that Renoir has captured in this canvas. The texture of the flowers is marvelously rendered, and one is tempted to say that the very perfume of the flowers is there, too.

    The silvery blue tonality is enlivened by accents of black; the lovely sprinkling of yellow starlike blossoms is sheer delight. Renoir is at the threshold of his career, but his taste already is exceptional.

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Other paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir:

Albert Cahen d'Anvers
Albert Cahen d'Anvers
Umbrellas
Umbrellas
The Path through the Forest
The Path through the Forest
Summer Landscape (Woman with a Parasol in a Garden)
Summer Landscape (Woman with a Parasol in a Garden)
Pierre-Auguste RenoirBorn in Limoges, Renoir moved to Paris and began his career as an apprentice painter in a porcelain manufacturing plant. His formal studies began at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1862 and continued at Gleyre's studio where he painted with fellow Impressionists, Sisley and Monet. Renoir's early paintings demonstrate his love of 18th Century French painting as well as the influence of Courbet and Delacroix.

The artist's portraits of women, often engaged in mundane daily activities, demonstrate his skill as a colorist. Working on a small scale, the artist used the subtleties of light and color to model his subjects. In the first years of the 20th Century, Renoir, encumbered by the effects of rheumatism, retreated to his home in the south of France where he increasingly turned to painting a favored subject: the female nude. These sensitive renderings, widely regarded as among the artist's finest works, represent a stylistic departure from Renoir's earlier paintings, evoking the nudes of the classical world.