Renoir’s personal effects and sculpture offered at Heritage Auctions

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • August 22, 2013

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Heritage Auctions’ The Renoir Estate Collection Signature® Auction, Sept. 19 in New York.

The single largest archive of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s personally-owned objects – from his signature polka-dot scarf to the original plaster maquette of La Grande Venus Victrix, recently discovered in a shed in France – will highlight an expansive grouping dedicated to the Impressionist icon in Heritage Auctions’ The Renoir Estate Collection Signature® Auction, Sept. 19 in New York.

The collection is an intimate glimpse inside the personal and professional life of the master painter through a trove of important documents, including his marriage certificate, photographs and letters written to Renoir from friends and contemporaries such as Monet, Manet, and Rodin.

The collection also features a selection of original sculptural plaster maquettes created at Renoir’s estate in Cagnes, France, in the twilight of his career. Battling severe arthritis, Renoir collaborated with a young and able-handed artist, Richard Guino, at his dealer Ambroise Vollard’s suggestion. 

Together, Renoir and Guino selected which drawings and paintings would work as sculptures, and they set to work. Included among the sculptural offerings is likely the auction’s top lot – a 72 inch tall original plaster maquette for La Grande Venus Victrix, the Roman goddess.

“This museum-level collection is superb in its completeness and reveals volumes about the man and his art,” said Brian Roughton, Managing Director of Fine Art at Heritage Auctions. “It touches every corner of his life and represents the last time this collection will appear assembled ever again. In addition to the personal letters and objects, we’re also thrilled to have the opportunity to offer 20 carefully collected original plaster maquettes.” 

Among the maquettes, Heritage is offering “Coco,” one of the only plaster maquettes that Renoir produced himself, depicting his young son Claude.

The staggering amount of life documents, awards and ephemera includes rarities such as an American Medal of Honor awarded to Renoir at the 1883 Foreign Exhibition and an album of candid family photographs featuring Henri Matisse among other notable artists of the day.

The archive also includes rarely seen objects likely made for the artist’s eyes only, such as a diminutive polychrome ceramic vase and sugar bowl thrown and painted with his son, Jean, at Les Collettes as Jean recuperated from War injuries at Les Collettes. 

Further highlights include but are not limited to:

Original molds for Renoir’s ‘Artist Portrait Roundels’ series The molds, depicting Paul Cézanne and Auguste Rodin, are from Renoir and Guino’s set of six of large-scale portrait medallions celebrating French artists the two believed to be the finest from the era.

Renoir’s spectacles, cigarette holder and personal financial documents.

A fine group of documents relating to the planning, design and construction of his estate of Les Collettes, Renoir’s home in Cagnes-sur-Mer, in the South of France.

A number of personal and intimate letters from Renoir to Aline Charigot, who would become his wife and immortalized in a number of his most famous works.

Original copper engraving plates of Renoir works along with glass plate negatives of Renoir, his family, models and paintings.

Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of more than $800 million, and 800,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit

Tags: european art

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