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Léonard Renoir, The Artist’s Father

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French, 1841–1919
Léonard Renoir
Oil on canvas
Place made
Western Europe, France, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 217
24 1/2 x 18 1/2 in. (62.2 x 47 cm)
framed: 31 15/16 x 25 13/16 x 3 1/4 in. (81.1 x 65.6 x 8.3 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
Painted when the artist was twenty-eight, Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s work represents his seventy year-old father, who was a tailor from Limoges in the south-west of France. In contrast to his later work, the artist’s palette here is restrained, focusing on nuanced shades of black and white, offset by pink flesh tones. This work was painted when Renoir, in difficult financial circumstances, was living with his parents and suggests his father’s stern personality
Co. dated January 2, 1934 indicates that the painting is from the Ambroise Vollard Collection [SLAM document files]. An article about the 1933 exhibition of the Vollard collection (see note [2]) indicates that M. Knoedler & Co. and Etienne Bignou recently acquired the pictures in the exhibition from Vollard ["Collection of Vollard, 'Columbus of Modern Art,' Is Shown Here." "The Art Digest" vol. 8, no. 4 (November 15, 1933):p. 7]. Neither the catalogue raisonné nor the invoice from M. Knoedler & Co. includes Bignou in the provenance for this painting. The 1999 exhibition catalogue (see note [2]) is the only other source which includes Bignou in the provenance for this work.

[4] Per invoice from M. Knoedler & Co. (see note [3]). Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, December 14, 1933.
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