Renoir once told a friend “painting flowers rests my brain. . . . I place my colors and experiment with values boldly, without worrying about spoiling a canvas.” In this still life, vibrant reds and pinks stand out against the dark background and cast blue shadows across the white tablecloth. Using thin washes and strokes of thicker paint, the artist has captured the peonies’ sumptuous colors and the delicate textures of their petals and leaves.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

French, 1841–1919


c. 1880

Oil on canvas

21 3/4 x 25 7/8 in. (55.3 x 65.7 cm) Frame: 32 x 35 13/16 in. (81.3 x 91 cm)

Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1942