Summer Selections: Three Impressionist gems unveiled by M.S. Rau

  • July 07, 2010 15:30

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841-1919) Nature morte aux fraises. Oil on canvas, 7 3/4" high x 11 1/8" wide (canvas). Signed "Renoir" (upper left). Painted in 1908. In a gilded Louis XV frame.
M.S. Rau
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841-1919) La Petite Liseuse. Signed "Renoir" (lower left). Oil on canvas, 10 1/2" high x 8 1/4" wide
M.S. Rau Antiques

A striking trio of Impressionist oils have been secured from private collections by New Orleans-based M.S. Rau Antiques. The new acquisitions, two by the iconic Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) and one by noted Belgian Neo-Impressionist Théo Van Rysselberghe (1862-1926), capture three divergent subjects: a sumptuous fruit still-life, an intimate portrait, and a brilliant seascape.

Having established his reputation for light-filled landscapes and complex genre scenes, Renoir turned his attention to still-lifes around 1880. His Impressionist technique and concentration on everyday objects allowed him to freely explore the use of color and form. The luscious pile of strawberries featured in Nature morte aux fraises, priced at $585,000, demonstrates his remarkable ability to translate the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Théo van Rysselberghe (Belgian, 1862-1926) La Baie de Sainte Brélade, Jersey. Signed with the artist monogram and dated "07," titled en verso. Oil on canvas, 25 3/4" high x 32" wide.
M.S. Rau Antiques

Once held by legendary Parisian art dealer Ambroise Vollard, a dynamic portrait entitled La Petite Liseuse, or Little Woman Reading ($650,000), represents Renoir's mastery of color and light through his expressive brushwork, infusing this simple scene with an eloquent sense of vitality.

The third acquisition, part of a private collection for 70 years, is an important Neo-Impressionist composition of the Saint Brélade coast by Belgian artist Théo van Rysselberghe. Rare to the market, van Rysselberghe's work is prized for his mastery of pointillist techniques, which represented a bold break from the traditions of academic painting in the late 19th-century.

In La Baie de Sainte Brélade, Jersey, van Rysselberghe employs rich color and long brushtrokes to capture the sunlight playing on the surface of the water and illuminating the rocky shoreline of the Bailliwick of Jersey, one of the Channel Islands that lies just off the coast of Normandy.

M.S. Rau is currently exhibiting at the Aspen Antiques & Fine Arts Fair, on through July 10 at the Aspen Ice Garden, in Aspen, Colorado.

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