Paysage du midi: le jardin des Collettes a Cagnes
Oil on canvas: 10.7(h) x 18.3(w) in / 27.3(h) x 46.4(w) cm
Signed lower right: Renoir
Limoges 1841 - 1919 Cagnes
Ref: CA 122
Paysage du midi: le jardin des Collettes à Cagnes
Signed lower right: Renoir
Oil on canvas: 10 ¾ x 18 ¼ in / 27.3 x 46.4 cm
Frame size: 17 x 24 ½ in / 43.2 x 62.2 cm
In a Louis XIV style carved and gilded frame
Painted in 1910
Ambroise Vollard, Paris, acquired from the artist before 1919
The Leclerc family, France;
Mercier & Cie., Lille, 15th December 1996, lot 178
Christie’s London, 21st June 2006, lot 203;
where acquired by a private collector, Europe
Lille, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Un demi-siècle de peinture française 1900-1950, 10th June-31st July 1950
Ambroise Vollard, Tableaux, Pastels et Dessins de P-A Renoir, Paris 1919, vol. II, p.190, illus.
Guy-Patrice and Michel Dauberville, Renoir: Catalogue Raisonné des Tableaux, Pastels, Dessins et Aquarelles, vol. IV, Paris 2012, p.141, no.2914, illus.
To be included in the forthcoming digital catalogue raisonné of the work of Pierre-Auguste Renoir being prepared by the Wildenstein Plattner Institute from the François Daulte, Durand-Ruel, Venturi, Vollard and Wildenstein archives
In 1907 Renoir purchased the small estate of Les Collettes in Cagnes, just west of Nice on the Côte d’Azur. Captivated by Provençal landscape and culture, he was determined to preserve the rural character of the property and left the original farm buildings untouched, building a new house on the estate which he moved into with his family in 1908. John House remarks that ‘Almost like Monet, who built his water garden as his ideal pictorial subject in his last years, Renoir would construct at Les Collettes a physical world which fulfilled his pictorial vision. But it was quite different in two crucial ways: Monet built his anew, to his own aesthetic specifications, while Renoir’s was old, preserved as an idealized vision of past society; and Monet’s was an elaborately cultivated garden, conceived as an object of solitary contemplation, whereas Renoir’s view of nature necessarily implied the human presence, which the olives and the old farm evoked so richly’.
In this work, Renoir evokes the languorous heat of a Provençal afternoon in his wild garden full of ancient, gnarled olive trees and fragrant Mediterranean herbs, the air filled with the sound of cicadas. He fills the whole canvas with dazzling energy, revelling in swoops and whirls and dabs of paint.
In his review of Durand-Ruel’s 1908 exhibition of Renoir and Monet’s landscapes, JF Schnerb commented: ‘M. Renoir more and more loves his canvas being full and sonorous. He loathes empty spaces. Every corner in his landscapes offers a relationship of colours and values chosen with a view to the embellishment of the surface. His recent studies of the Provençal landscape led him to transpose the themes furnished by nature into the most sonorous colour range and to assemble the largest possible number of elements in the canvas, like a musician who ceaselessly adds new elements to his orchestra’.
Limoges 1841 - 1919 Cagnes
Pierre-August Renoir, one of the best loved of the Impressionists, always painted the beauties of nature: harmonious landscapes, flowers, fruit, children and women. He began his career at the age of thirteen as a painter on porcelain in a factory in Paris. He soon gave this up in favour of painting fans and decorating blinds, which he did until 1862, when he had saved enough money to support his ambition to study art. He enrolled in classes at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and in 1864 had his first painting accepted at the Paris Salon.
During this period Renoir also studied in the atelier of Charles Gleyre, where he became friends with Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille. In 1863 Manet’s Déjeuner sur l'Herbe caused uproar at the Salon des Refusés and made a deep impression on the group of young painters. They began to go on expeditions to the Forest of Fontainebleau to paint en plein air and started to develop a palette and style of painting that formed the foundation of Impressionism. In 1869 Renoir worked alongside Claude Monet at La Grenouillière on the Seine, producing what are considered to be the first landscapes painted in the Impressionist style.
Although Renoir continued to submit his works to the Salon throughout the early 1870s, he also continued to explore his new approach to light and colour and to forge strong links with other like-minded artists such as Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and Edgar Degas. By 1874 the group was so disaffected by the constraints placed upon them by the Salon jury that they decided to mount their own exhibition which challenged the accepted tradition of official art exhibitions. In April 1874 the group held the first of the Impressionist exhibitions.
This group of artists exhibited eight times between 1874 and 1886 and Renoir participated on four occasions. In 1878 his painting Madame Charpentier and her children (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) was accepted at the Salon. The painting was critically well received and Renoir finally began to sell his paintings; for the first time he experienced a degree of financial security. As Renoir’s popularity grew he travelled more and gradually began to adopt a different approach to his art. The Impressionists were suffering from internal disputes which led Renoir to disassociate himself from them; consequently he did not take part in the eighth and final show in 1886.
Throughout the rest of his life Renoir’s work continued to develop. He visited the South of France, Italy and North Africa, where he painted dramatic, highly-coloured landscapes. He eventually married his companion Aline Charigot and as his family grew he experienced a new contentment. In 1907, suffering from ill health, he purchased a property in Cagnes-sur-Mer near Nice on the Côte d’Azur where he settled with his family and painted until his death in 1919.
 London, Hayward Gallery/Paris, Grand Palais/Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Renoir, 1985-6, pp.287-8.
 Quoted in Renoir, 1985-6, op. cit., p.277.