gallery of London and New York will offer Pierre-Auguste Renoirs 1885 Impressionist masterpiece Au Bord de lEau at TEFAF 2016.
A museum-quality work of prestigious provenance, depicting one of the most popular Impressionist motifs, that has not been on the market for almost a century.
Conceived en plein air along the banks of the Seine near Renoirs residence at La Roche-Guyon, Au Bord de lEau demonstrates the rich, sensuous style and vibrant palette of Renoirs most celebrated boating scenes of the 1880s. It betrays the lessons learned during his 1881 travels to Italy, his 1884 visit together with Monet to Cézannes home in LEstaque; and of his admiration of the rococo fantasies of Watteau and Fragonard. Yet Renoirs ultimate source of inspiration was the landscape itself; in his unpublished treatise entitled Grammar of Art, dating from around the same time, he declared: Any individual wishing to make art must be inspired solely by works of nature. He must love her more than the most beautiful mistress and feast his spirit and eyes upon her like a glutton.
This painting, making its debut on the open market for the first time in nearly a century, is all the more desirable for its prestigious provenance. Au Bord de lEau was owned by Ambroise Vollard, a close friend of Renoirs and early champion of the Impressionists, and then exhibited in November 1920 at the Paris gallery of Paul Durand-Ruel, an equally successful dealer in Impressionist works. Au Bord de lEau can be seen in a contemporary photograph of Durand-Ruels 1920 posthumous retrospective exhibition staged in honour of Renoir (29 Nov. 18 Dec. 1920), who had died the previous year. It was there that Frank and Alice Osborn, the American collectors, spotted and admired the work, which they purchased on December 21st at the close of the show. The Osborns bequeathed their substantial collection which also featured works by Cézanne and Bonnard to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Au Bord de lEau remained in the museums Impressionist galleries from 1966 until it was deaccessioned to raise funds for their Hendrik Goltzius Without Ceres and Bacchus, Venus would Freeze. In a sale negotiated through the Beadleston Gallery in 1993, Au Bord de lEau entered a private American collection where it has remained for the past 23 years.