Pierre-Auguste Renoir | L'ombrelle, 1878

In this radiant painting, Pierre-Auguste Renoir🎨 depicts the quintessential Impressionist🎨 subject of the fashionably attired Parisienne within a scene of abundantly flowering nature.
Painted in 1878 at the height of Impressionism, the variegated brushwork consisting of thick and swirling impasto and small dabs of spontaneous and audaciously applied paint, make L'ombrelle one of the artist's most experimental works of the latter part of that decade.
The picture exemplifies Renoir's ideal of harmoniously integrating a figure into an outdoor setting, and of capturing the myriad effects of light and shade in a range of dazzling colours.
Bright sunlight illuminates the luxuriantly painted blossoming tree and bounces off the model's hat and daintily held parasol, which, in turn, partially casts her figure into shade. Patches of violet and pink, meanwhile, brilliantly convey dappled light as it filters through the foliage.



L'ombrelle relates to a sequence of exuberantly painted canvases depicting women in garden settings that Renoir executed in the years immediately following the very first Impressionist exhibition of 1874.
These pictures may have been inspired by the example of Claude Monet, whom Renoir had visited at his home in Argenteuil during the summer months of 1873-1875.
There, Monet had painted a series of works showing women, often toting parasols, in the privacy and splendour of his garden. Frustrated by successive rejections in 1872 and 1873 from the official state-sponsored exhibition known as the Salon, Renoir had increasingly come under Monet's influence.
As his garden paintings show, however, he 'far surpassed Monet's domesticated views of well-ordered gardens with paths and flower beds. With myriad points of colour and brushstrokes moving in every conceivable direction, he dissolved objective forms, melting and intermingling colours in the shimmering flux of sunlight to a degree never before achieved within the context of Impressionist aesthetics'.


... In composition, facture and palette, L'ombrelle is a truly modern picture.
Renoir has captured the scene from a raised vantage point, which serves to crop the figure and flatten the background.
This is rendered as an almost abstract field of a broken strokes and decorative proto-pointillist dabs that are loosely arranged in bands of vibrant blues and greens.
John House has observed that in the latter part of the 1870s, when Marshal MacMahon's moral order regime of France's Third Republic was becoming progressively more repressive, the Impressionists' brushwork became increasingly daring.
'More perhaps than any other Impressionist paintings of the period', House has noted, 'Renoir's experimental works from around 1875-8 reveal a sustained attempt to erase dessin and tonal contrast, in favour of an art based on a network of coloured touches' (J. House, Impressionism: Paint and Politics, New Haven & London, 2004, p. 165).
In what is a virtuoso display of paint handling, the blooms of the flowering tree are painted in a multihued, pronounced impasto. This remarkably free treatment recalls the artist's comment to Rivière that in the painting of flowers he could 'experiment boldly with tone and value' (Renoir, quoted in Renoir Landscapes, p. 180).
This experimentation with tone and value extends to the figure too, with the model's face painted in patches and strokes of pinks, greens and blues, which suggests the play of light and shade on exposed skin and recalls his vibrantly coloured nude Etude that was exhibited in the Second Impressionist exhibition of 1876.
In this celebration of femininity, nature and pure painting, Renoir achieves a masterful synthesis of figure and landscape - the synthesis of a calm yet fragile woman with a vibrant and animated flowery nook, coalescing in a palette of light-filled, harmonious colour.
As the artist's brother wrote just one year after Renoir executed the picture, his 'sole concern' was to attain, 'not perfection of rendering, but the most complete perception of the harmonies of nature' (E. Renoir, quoted in Wadley, op. cit., p. 131). | © Christie's



In questo dipinto raggiante, Pierre-Auguste Renoir descrive la quintessenza dell'Impressionista della Parisienne alla moda in una scena di natura abbondantemente fiorita.
Dipinta nel 1878 al culmine dell'impressionismo, la variegata pennellata composta da un impasto denso e vorticoso e piccoli tocchi di vernice spontanea e audacemente applicata, fanno L'ombrelle uno dei lavori più sperimentali dell'artista dell'ultima parte di quel decennio.
L'immagine esemplifica l'ideale di Renoir di integrare armoniosamente una figura in un ambiente esterno e di catturare la miriade di effetti di luce e ombra in una gamma di colori abbaglianti.
La luce del sole illumina l'albero rigoglioso dipinto in modo lussureggiante e rimbalza sul cappello del modello e l'ombrellino con delicatezza, che, a sua volta, proietta parzialmente la sua figura in ombra.
Macchie di viola e rosa, nel frattempo, trasmettono brillantemente la luce screziata mentre filtra attraverso il fogliame.
L'ombrelle si riferisce ad una sequenza di tele dipinte in modo esuberante raffiguranti donne in ambienti da giardino che Renoir ha eseguito negli anni immediatamente successivi alla prima mostra impressionista del 1874.
Queste immagini possono essere state ispirate dall'esempio di Claude Monet, che Renoir aveva visitato a casa sua in Argenteuil durante i mesi estivi del 1873-1875. Lì, Monet aveva dipinto una serie di opere che mostravano donne, spesso ombrose, nella privacy e nello splendore del suo giardino.
Frustrato dai successivi rifiuti nel 1872 e nel 1873 dalla mostra ufficiale sponsorizzata dallo stato conosciuta come il Salon, Renoir era sempre più sotto l'influenza di Monet.
Come mostrano i suoi dipinti da giardino, tuttavia, ha superato di gran lunga le visioni domestiche di Monet di giardini ben ordinati con sentieri e aiuole. | © Christie's


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