Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Apples and Flowers

Apples and Flowers
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Still Life, Painting, Oil on canvas, 32.8x41.4 cm
Origin: France, Circa 1895/1896

The bouquet in this still life is arranged so that the roses, peonies, and jasmine, similar in coloration, create an unusually subtle range of tones related to white. The chief pictorial effect of the painting emerges from the contrast between these shades of white - symbol of purity and virginity - and the apples, which could relate to the Tree of Knowledge. Renoir was no symbolist, but he was a product of his time, and in the mid-1890s, when Symbolism was flourishing, he reflected values toward which in his earlier work he had maintained an indifference. There are sensual overtones in the painting that suggest its programme was not completely taken up with realist or purely pictorial problems. The still life also reflects an interest in Cézanne's paintings. Yet this influence manifests itself in an unusual way. Cézanne's rigorous structural quality and his special perspective are essentially alien to Renoir, whose work here, as before, is notable for a softness that one wants to call feminine.

Style: Impressionism
Source of entry: formerly in the collection of Bernhard Koehler, Berlin
Exibition: French Painting: 19th - 20th centuries
Transferred from Germany after World War II

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