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Pierre-Auguste Renoir

French, 1841–1919

Peonies

c. 1880

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.

Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 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)
Object Number 1955.585
Acquisition Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1942
Status On View

Image Caption

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Peonies, c. 1880, Oil on canvas. The Clark Art Institute, 1955.585.

Bibliography

Lees, Sarah, ed. Nineteenth-Century European Paintings at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute; New Haven and London: distributed by Yale University Press, 2012.

Provenance

The artist, sold to Durand-Ruel, 6 Jan. 1881; [Durand-Ruel, Paris, from 1881]; Potter Palmer, Chicago (by 1892–d. 1902); Bertha Honoré Palmer, Chicago, his wife, by descent (1902–d. 1918); [Howard Young Galleries, New York, c. 1922]; Annie Swan Coburn, Chicago (d. 1932); The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection (1933–42); [Knoedler, New York; sold to Clark, 31 Jan. 1942]; Robert Sterling Clark (1942–55); Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1955.

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