Roses dans un vase vert
Oil on canvas: 20.7(h) x 18.3(w) in / 52.7(h) x 46.4(w) cm
Signed lower left: Renoir
Limoges 1841 - 1919 Cagnes
Ref: BZ 240
Roses dans un vase vert
Signed lower left: Renoir
Oil on canvas: 20 ¾ x 18 ¼ in / 52.7 x 46.4 cm
Frame size: 28 x 26 in / 71.1 x 66 cm
Painted circa 1910-1912
Ambroise Vollard, Paris, consigned by the artist before 1919 Bignou Gallery, New York, by 1942 James Moffatt, New York
Knoedler & Co., New York, on consignment 26th November 1957;
The Estate of Elwood Bigelow Hosmer, Montreal, acquired through Knoedler & Co. on 2nd January 1958;
by inheritance to Marguerite and A Murray Vaughan, 1969
Lillienfeld Galleries, New York Private collector, Roslyn Harbor, Long Island;
from whom inherited in 1995 by a private collector, Roslyn Harbor; by descent to a private collector, New York
New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Exhibition of Masterpieces by Renoir After 1900. For the Benefit of Children’s Aid Society, 1st-25th April 1942, no.21, illus. (as Roses dans un vase bleu) New York, Wildenstein & Co., Inc., Renoir: The Gentle Rebel, 24th October-30th November 1974, no.56, illus. Roslyn Harbor, Nassau County Museum of Art, La Belle Epoque, 10th June-24th September 1995, p.20, illus. (as Roses in a bowl, 1912, lent by Mrs Doris Gross)
Ambroise Vollard, Tableaux, pastels et dessins de Pierre-Auguste Renoir, vol. I, Paris 1918 and revised edn. San Francisco 1989, p.103, no.413, illus. (as Fleurs dans un vase, 1900) Rosamund Frost, Renoir, Paris 1957, p.44, illus. (as Roses dans un vase bleu, 1912, in the collection of the Bignou Gallery, New York) Daniel Wildenstein, Renoir, Paris 1980, pp.46, illus. in colour; 55, illus. (as Roses dans un vase, 1912, in a private collection) Guy-Patrice Dauberville and Michel Dauberville, Renoir: Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, vol. III, 1895-1902, Paris 2010, p.17, no.1694, illus. (as Roses dans un vase, c.1900)
This work will be included in the forthcoming Renoir Digital Catalogue Raisonné currently being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc, ref. 21.10.14/20928
‘I want my reds to be sonorous, to sound like a bell; if it doesn’t turn out that way, I put more reds or other colours till I get it’. Red, yellow and green contrast and entwine in Roses dans un vase vert, depicting Renoir’s favourite flower. He painted still lifes throughout his career, but roses – heavy, sculptural, complex, sensuous, pulsating with colour and breathing delicious scent – are the flowers most closely associated with him. He likened the curves of the rose to the female form and told Ambroise Vollard that his many studies of roses were linked to ‘researches in flesh tones which I make for a nude’. Renoir’s models wear roses in their hats or entwined in their hair, inhabiting a perpetual summer of fecund youthfulness.
In this painting roses dominate the composition, evoked in whirls and eddies of rapid brushwork. The pale pink rose to the right is shot through with skeins of yellow, burgundy and touches of green; the yellow rose at bottom left glows with richly-impasted red and white. As well as delighting in the natural world, Renoir is intoxicated by the possibilities of paint itself. Depicting flowers gave him an especial freedom. He commented that ‘Painting flowers lets my brain rest. It does not cause the same tension of spirit as when I face a model. When I paint flowers, I put down tones, I boldly try values, without having to worry about losing a canvas’. The vitality of this painting is enhanced by the diagonal cascade of emerald leaves which course through the flowers, echoing the iridescent green vase which holds the bouquet.
Note on the provenance
Vase de roses was originally owned by Ambroise Vollard (1866-1939), friend and biographer of Renoir and one of the most influential dealers in Impressionist paintings. In the 1950s it belonged to the Hosmer family, influential Canadian industrialists and art collectors. The dynasty was begun by Charles R Hosmer (1851-1927), who founded a fortune on telegraphs, cotton and flour mills, among many other interests, and who owned the Ritz-Carleton Hotel in Montreal. He commissioned a Beaux-Arts mansion on Montreal’s Upper Drummond Street and filled it with Renaissance paintings and works of art. His children Elwood (1879-1946) and Olive Hosmer (1880-1965) added eighteenth and nineteenth century paintings, including this Renoir. Neither had children, but took under their wing a cousin by marriage, Lucile Fairbank Pillow (1883-1969), who became curator and heir to the Hosmer Collection. She left it to her daughter, Marguerite Pillow Vaughan (1903-1991). The collection was broken up, with some works going to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Beaverbrook Museum in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Around 1970 Renoir’s Vase de roses was acquired by a Long Island private collector and has descended in their family.
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.
 Photo no.3038 and 5044.
 Knoedler Commission Book 5a, p.134. Knoedler stock no.CA5317.
 Knoedler Commission Book 5a, p.134. The owner of the Hosmer Collection was Lucile Fairbank Pillow (1883-1969), a cousin by marriage of Elwood Bigelow Hosmer (1879-1946) and his sister Olive Hosmer (1880-1965).
 Marguerite (1903-1991) was the daughter of Lucile Pillow and the wife of A Murray Vaughan (1899-1986), who was President of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1965, when Elwood Hosmer’s sister and heir Olive Hosmer died. He administered the Hosmer and Pillow estates.
 Label on the reverse of the stretcher.
 Quoted in Boston, Museum of Fine Arts/Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais/London, Hayward Gallery, Renoir, 1985-86, p.283.
 Quoted in Renoir, 1985-6, ibid., p.283.