framers in north London - sketches on display

Special London Auction Of Renoir Painting Brings Art To Life

Special London Auction Of Renoir Painting Brings Art To Life

A special auction of the Renoir painting Fleurs dans un vase will offer bidders the chance to purchase the actual vase that the artist used as a prop for the work. The Times reports that the painting is set to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in London on March 6, with an estimated price of between £2 million and £3 million.  

Renoir sold Fleurs dans un vase to the Parisian gallery Galerie Durand-Ruel in 1890, and it was last exhibited there in 1969. The still-life painting features the distinctive blue and orange vase, which contains an abundant floral arrangement of complementary colours. 

The vase features in several other Renoir still life paintings and other compositions, and is thought to have been made in Sicily at the turn of the 18th century. The artist kept it in his possession until his death in 1919, and it was then passed onto his great grandson Jean-Emmanuel Renoir. It has never been exhibited alongside a painting before. 

The Italian vase will be for sale alongside the painting it features in, which is an unusual exciting opportunity for art collectors. Renoir began his career as an apprentice porcelain painter, so this may be why he paid particular attention to the colour and design of vases in his paintings. 

 Tania Remoundos, a Sotheby’s specialist, said: “It is very rare for us to be able to bring a painting to life quite so tangibly, by pairing it with the very object that sat in front of the artist as he put paint to canvas.”

She added: “The fascination with this jewel-like vase was perhaps a nod to Renoir’s apprenticeship as a porcelain painter with the Lévy Brothers. In this painting, the vase itself is executed with just as much care as the rest of the composition.” 

“We’ve seen rare instances of this [artwork and prop] peppered in museum shows over the years, for example with Matisse and the items treasured in his studio, but not at auction, or indeed for sale, before.”

“This occasion is down to sheer happy circumstance, made all the more special knowing that this very vase features in some of his most celebrated works, one of which hangs in a museum.”

Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a leading artist of the Impressionist movement of the late 19th century. He was born in Limoges, France, in 1841. His family moved to Paris in 1844 as his father sought to better his prospects as a tailor, and Renoir would become a regular visitor to the Louvre gallery, which was situated near to his home. 

The young Renoir had a natural talent for drawing, but his family could not support further education and he was apprenticed to a porcelain factory at the age of 13. However, he was eventually able to enrol in art school and here he met other artists who would become leading lights of the Impressionist movement, including Alfred Sisley and Claude Monet.

In 1874, Renoir and a group of fellow artists mounted the first Impressionist exhibition in response to repeated rejections by the art establishment. Their work was characterised by the effects of capturing light and movement on canvas, and they often painted outdoors to observe transient weather and light conditions. 

Renoir’s work stood out for its vibrancy of colour and sensitivity to light and expression. He established himself as a portrait painter, and became a fashionable and financially successful artist within his lifetime, unlike some of his contemporaries. He was committed to finding joy and beauty in his work, and never depicted gloomy or melancholy scenes. 

Renoir’s still life paintings were also very much in demand during his lifetime, and were more critically well-received than the work of some of his contemporaries. This allowed him to earn a steady income, and gave him some buffer against the initial hostility of the public and academics towards Impressionism.

According to The Times, Renoir once said that for him “painting flowers is a form of mental relaxation …. I do not need the concentration that I need when I am faced with a model”.

Sadly, Renoir developed rheumatoid arthritis when he was in his fifties, which became progressively severe and prevented him from holding a paintbrush properly. However he continued to paint by tying a paintbrush to his hand almost to the end of his life aged 78 in 1919. 

If you have a painting that you would like to make an impression with, please visit our framing shop in north London.