Pierre-Auguste Renoir

An original Pierre-Auguste Renoir Lithograph print.


Original lithograph printed in eight colors (black, grey, rose, salmon, green, ochre, blue, white) on Ingres d’Arches laid paper.

Signed with a stone printed signature in the margin lower left Renoir.

A superbly printed proof impression of the only state very rare in this the final version with the two additional colors added by the printer Clot (the blue to the eyes and the white to the face, hat and background), apart from the edition of 100 printed in six colors in which the stone signature does not appear. Commissioned by Ambroise Vollard for the third (unissued) Album d’Estampes Originales de la Galerie Vollard, Paris; printed by Auguste Clot.

Catalog: Delteil 31; Roger-Marx 6; Stella 31.

12 5/8 x 10 1/2 inches

Sheet Size: 19 x 16 1/4 inches

This study of Renoir’s second son Jean was the third of the group of four major lithographs in color that Renoir drew for Ambroise Vollard working in the studio of Auguste Clot. Of it the Impressionist scholar and author of the book Impressionist Prints (Tabard Press, New York, 1971), Roger Passeron writes:

This time Renoir and Clot outdid themselves and produced what is unquestionably the artist’s finest print. The colors have a pastel tonality and a delightful mat finish. The effect of transparency and softness is due to a brilliant device: the use of over-printing in white ink which covers and neutralizes the vivacity of certain colors. This white was applied chiefly to the garment, the bonnet and the child’s face. The use of white ink is most unusual in printmaking . . . All the colors blend more or less into each other, and the subtlety of these fusions accounts for the fascinating beauty of this lithograph. There is no impasto in the handling of the colors. All have been softened down in light and delicate gradations of the most appealing freshness. Many trials must have been made before Renoir was satisfied. Some proofs exist of the drawing alone in grey-black; others have a light pink for the face without the blue for the eyes. All these trial proofs are very rare. None can compare with the finished lithograph, complete with all its colors: here the end-result alone counts and it is a masterpiece. To see a fine impression of its final state is to realize what a supreme achievement it is. It is one of the high-water marks of color lithography, not only for its technical perfection but for its outstanding artistic qualities . . . And this lithograph is a true and wonderful Renoir. It has the grace and beauty, the color and light of his best work. It is permeated with his enjoyment of life, his youthfulness of outlook.

Vollard intended this lithograph to be used in his third major album of mixed prints by his gallery artists. However, lack of success with selling the first two albums forced him to abandon the third before all the intended prints were completed. The edition of this lithograph by Renoir was issued separately around 1900.