Nini in the Garden by Renoir, Pierre-Auguste

Nini in the Garden
Renoir, Pierre-Auguste
1875-76; Oil on canvas, 24 3/8 x 20 in;
Philadelphia Museum of ArtRenoir rarely worked on one canvas at a time, and
Nini in the Garden,
signed but not dated, belongs to the period immediately before work on the
Moulin de la Galette
began in earnest. Inspired by Monet's work at
Argenteuil, Renoir had been experimenting since the early 1870s with
the motif of young women in the garden: in size, , and
orientation,
Nini in the Garden
may be loosely grouped with
Woman with a Black Dog,
1874 (formerly, Charles Clore Collection, London) and the
radiant
Umbrella
of 1878 (sale, Christie's, May 11,1988, lot 15).
These paintings are identical in size (24 by 20 inches); each
explores the problem of integrating the clothed female figure in
ambient daylight and achieving a harmony between elegant Parisienne
and exuberant nature. Even more closely related is
Young Girl on the Beach,
which was probably painted at the same session: there, the
model, Nini Lopez, sits on a similar garden chair wearing identical
dress, but her presence is more assertive, now the chief element in
the composition. Both paintings convey the delight that Renoir
experienced in the large garden at the rue Cortot. Georges Riviere,
who had accompanied Renoir in his search for the ideal Montmartre
studio, recalled that "as soon as Renoir entered the house, he was
charmed by the view of this garden, which looked like a beautiful
abandoned park. Once we had passed through the narrow hallway, we
stood before a vast uncultivated lawn dotted with poppies,
convolvulus, and daisies." Beyond this, Riviere continued, lay a
beautiful allee planted with trees stretching the full length of the
garden--this was the view that Renoir used for his celebrated painting
The Swing (Musee d'Orsay, Paris)--and at the end was a fruit and
vegetable patch with dense bushes and poplar trees. It is difficult to
know exactly which corner of the garden is represented in this
painting, although Nini does appear to be sitting at the edge of an
untidy lawn.In Nini in the Garden,
which should be dated around 1875-76, Renoir's
handling is energized, nervous, and experimental. He makes no attempt
to unify the paint surface of his canvas: ridges of rich impasto sit
alongside areas of barely covered ground. His color is nonetheless
applied in dabs and strokes of varying touch, appropriate to the forms
they describe. Thus, the leafy bushes in the background are a mosaic
of greens, browns, and ochers; the sky in the upper left a series of
blue strokes placed over the greens--the most obvious of Renoir's
borrowings from Monet. Nini herself is painted more emphatically, the
violet blue of her hat and underskirt the densest blocks of color in
the composition. Nini's costume is very similar to, if not identical
to, the one she wears in
Departure from the Conservatory.
Comparison
helps establish the design of Nini's ensemble as it appears in
Nini in the Garden:
dark tunic over a light pinafore dress, with dark
underskirt, this last element just visible through the grass and
plants.It is clear, however, that costume is of little concern to Renoir
here. His chief interest is to record the sunlight as it filters
through bushes and trees onto the diminutive and fashionably dressed
Parisienne. He had already investigated these effects on the nude;
Nini in the Garden marks an early stage in such treatment of the
dressed figure. Somewhat tentatively, Renoir painted the reflections
of foliage on Nini's face and the larger shadows on her dress. Her
golden brown tresses are overwhelmed by the greens and browns of the
background foliage; the forms of her dress dissolve in the dappled
light and shadow.Those elements of Renoir's luminist vocabulary that would cause such
outrage in 1877--his colored shadows, the violet tonality of his
outdoor scenes--are present in this early example: for example, the
line of chartreuse that defines Nini's cheek and chin as well as the
mauve patches of shadow on her dress. Although his plein-air painting
still owed much to Monet, .

Nini in the Garden Renoir, Pierre-Auguste 1875-76; Oil on canvas, 24 3/8 x 20 in; Philadelphia Museum of ArtRenoir rarely worked on one canvas at a time, and Nini in the Garden, signed but not dated, belongs to the period immediately before work on the Moulin de la Galette began in earnest. Inspired by Monet's work at Argenteuil, Renoir had been experimenting since the early 1870s with the motif of young women in the garden: in size, , and orientation, Nini in the Garden may be loosely grouped with Woman with a Black Dog, 1874 (formerly, Charles Clore Collection, London) and the radiant Umbrella of 1878 (sale, Christie's, May 11,1988, lot 15). These paintings are identical in size (24 by 20 inches); each explores the problem of integrating the clothed female figure in ambient daylight and achieving a harmony between elegant Parisienne and exuberant nature. Even more closely related is Young Girl on the Beach, which was probably painted at the same session: there, the model, Nini Lopez, sits on a similar garden chair wearing identical dress, but her presence is more assertive, now the chief element in the composition. Both paintings convey the delight that Renoir experienced in the large garden at the rue Cortot. Georges Riviere, who had accompanied Renoir in his search for the ideal Montmartre studio, recalled that "as soon as Renoir entered the house, he was charmed by the view of this garden, which looked like a beautiful abandoned park. Once we had passed through the narrow hallway, we stood before a vast uncultivated lawn dotted with poppies, convolvulus, and daisies." Beyond this, Riviere continued, lay a beautiful allee planted with trees stretching the full length of the garden--this was the view that Renoir used for his celebrated painting The Swing (Musee d'Orsay, Paris)--and at the end was a fruit and vegetable patch with dense bushes and poplar trees. It is difficult to know exactly which corner of the garden is represented in this painting, although Nini does appear to be sitting at the edge of an untidy lawn.In Nini in the Garden, which should be dated around 1875-76, Renoir's handling is energized, nervous, and experimental. He makes no attempt to unify the paint surface of his canvas: ridges of rich impasto sit alongside areas of barely covered ground. His color is nonetheless applied in dabs and strokes of varying touch, appropriate to the forms they describe. Thus, the leafy bushes in the background are a mosaic of greens, browns, and ochers; the sky in the upper left a series of blue strokes placed over the greens--the most obvious of Renoir's borrowings from Monet. Nini herself is painted more emphatically, the violet blue of her hat and underskirt the densest blocks of color in the composition. Nini's costume is very similar to, if not identical to, the one she wears in Departure from the Conservatory. Comparison helps establish the design of Nini's ensemble as it appears in Nini in the Garden: dark tunic over a light pinafore dress, with dark underskirt, this last element just visible through the grass and plants.It is clear, however, that costume is of little concern to Renoir here. His chief interest is to record the sunlight as it filters through bushes and trees onto the diminutive and fashionably dressed Parisienne. He had already investigated these effects on the nude; Nini in the Garden marks an early stage in such treatment of the dressed figure. Somewhat tentatively, Renoir painted the reflections of foliage on Nini's face and the larger shadows on her dress. Her golden brown tresses are overwhelmed by the greens and browns of the background foliage; the forms of her dress dissolve in the dappled light and shadow.Those elements of Renoir's luminist vocabulary that would cause such outrage in 1877--his colored shadows, the violet tonality of his outdoor scenes--are present in this early example: for example, the line of chartreuse that defines Nini's cheek and chin as well as the mauve patches of shadow on her dress. Although his plein-air painting still owed much to Monet, .