Pierre Auguste Renoir
Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1841-1919
Baigneuse Assise. Study of a Seated Bather.
Original softground etching in black ink. 1897. Signed with the artist's signature stamp (See Lugt - Collection Marks no 2137a). Also signed in the plate. From the edition printed by Louis Fort for Renoir c. 1910. Edition first issued by Vollard to accompany the album: 'La Vie et l'Oeuvre de Pierre Auguste Renoir', Paris 1919. Ref: Delteil - Renoir Peintre Graveur 11. Stella - Renoir 11
Excellent impression with a lightly wiped plate tone. On light cream wove paper. Excellent condition; the very faintest suggestion of time toning of the outer sheet edges. Not restored. Full margins. Sheet: 12 1/2 x 9 1/4ins. Plate: 8 5/8 x 5 3/8ins (220x137mm)
There is a sense of light and soft modelling in Renoir's study 'Baigneuse Assise' which makes it amongst the most beautiful figure images in his etched oeuvre. Although referred to as a 'Bather', evoking almost classical aesthetic ideas, the study is essentially an expression of the purely realist treatment of the theme of the nude which is so central to impressionist art. Like Degas Renoir wanted to capture the idea of an actual person in an everyday moment of time. At the same time as seeking to express this concept of a modern 'realism' for Renoir figure studies were also a vehicle for the expression of the visual sensation of light. In the later years of his life Renoir was concentrating on techniques which allowed him to model form almost totally in terms of light rather than contour. The more linear handling seen in the works of the 1860's and 70's gave place to a concentration on tone, and on a depiction of form, in which background shadow and softened contour blend together. In printmaking Renoir discovered in the mid 1890's that the technique of softground etching allowed him to create the tone values that he wanted. In softground a sheet of paper is laid over the prepared 'ground' on the copper plate and the artist then draws or uses a silverpoint on the paper. The texture of the paper is thus transferred to the line in the plate ground and bitten by the acid, giving the final inked line a textural softness. To this tonal line Renoir has added touches of pure etched line as accents.
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