Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) was a French artist and leading painter in the development of Impressionism. Today, he is considered among the finest Impressionists and his work continues to sell for outstanding sums at auction.
Renoir began work as a painter in a porcelain factory in 1854. In 1862, he entered the studio of Gleyre where he formed lasting friendships with Monet, Sisley and Bazille.
Renoir's art has instant appeal, and the artist freely communicated the joy he took in them. He was once quoted as saying, "Why shouldn't art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world."
This superb letter was sent from Pierre-Auguste Renoir to Madame Marguerite Charpentier (who is portrayed in Renoir's "Madame Charpentier with Her Children" in 1886. Written in French, it translates as:
"The Petit exposition having ended, there remains only for me to thank you...As I hear you are not in Paris, won't you please drop a word to Petit so that he might know if he should bring your paintings or hold it until your return. I am in Brittany in a wonderful place and I am working. A thousand good wishes to Georges and kisses to the children. Your good and sincere friend. Renoir."
This letter reflects an important time in Renoir's career. Madame Charpentier, who was married to publisher George Charpentier (whose stable of authors included Gustave Flaubert, Emile Zola and the Goncourt brothers), was said to have been extremely pleased with Renoir's painting of her and her children, and used her profound influence among France's creative elite to ensure that it was hung in a prominent spot of the 1879 Salon exhibition.
She also introduced Renoir to several of her influential friends, which led to major commissions for the artist and helped boost his career. The letter sees Renoir once again thanking Madame Charpentier for her patronage.
"Petit" is a reference to Georges Petit, an extremely influential Parisian art dealer, who was hugely important in the promotion of Impressionist artists, frequently exhibiting their works in his gallery.
A review of auction results shows that no other letters from Renoir to his benefactor, Madame Charpentier, have been up for sale in at least 40 years.
The letter, which is in excellent condition, with some light toning and folding as is typical of documents of this age, is accompanied by a beautiful black and white photograph of Renoir.
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