Friday - 28 November 2014

Renoir archive emerges in US

12 April 2005Written by ATG Reporter

Maryland auction house Hantman’s will sell personal artefacts and archival material relating to Pierre August Renoir at auction on May 14.

Estimated at $250,000-400,000, it includes photograph albums, personal, financial and business documents, letters and pictures of the artist.

The cache, discovered in Les Collettes, the artist's residence in Cagnes-sur-Mer, is being sold on behalf of Renoir's grandson, Paul Renoir, who died recently.

Hantman's enjoyed extensive press coverage recently for the sale of Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy memorabilia and were contacted after a TV show to sell the collection. Paul was the son of Renoir's youngest child, Claude Renoir, commonly known as "Coco". After his death, Renoir divided his estate equally between his three sons leaving Les Collettes to Claude.

Paul, who died in January, hoped the works would be bought by a public institution.

Auctioneer Paula Hantman said: "It is the many personal things coming straight from the family and the house he lived in that make this moving material, ideal for a museum to have on display or take around on a travelling show."

Five Renoir pictures feature in the sale including a small watercolour of Château de Brouillards, a pencil Portrait of a Woman, two charcoals on paper entitled Heads of Women plus 56 copper lithographic plates.

Also for sale are Renoir's signature white and crimson polka-dot silk scarf, pince-nez and spectacles, and personal documents such as his birth, death and marriage certificates, house deeds and funeral and burial receipts.

Of academic significance is correspondence from Rodin, Monet, Manet, Georges d'Espag-nat and Sacha Guitry, prominent dealers and collectors such as Vollard, Bernheim-Jeune and Durand-Ruel, plus volumes of letters to Renoir's family, friends and wife, Aline. In a letter to Aline, he writes: "Get used to my oldness and start saving money because I am uncertain how much more I will be able to earn."

The archive includes dossiers referencing work, painting authentication documents, exhibition photographs, inventories and critics' reviews, some annotated with Renoir's reactions.

Family photograph albums contain images of Renoir at home with his family, at work in his studio or garden and boating and dining with artist friends.

They include a photograph taken the night before Renoir died, showing the artist wearing a night cap in bed, and a number of glass plate negatives of friends and models posing for paintings.
Helen Orrell

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