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Potomac, MD, United States
DoneSat, May 14, 2005 2:00 PM GMT

Renoir Collection, Dec Arts & Asian Ceramics

Hantman's May 14, 2005 auction catalog consists of three sessions.

SESSION I: the Personal Artifacts and Archives Collection of French Impressionist artist Pierre Auguste Renoir (the entire collection to be sold as one lot (LOT 1)

SESSION II: American and European Antiques and Decorative Arts (LOTS 2-397)

SESSION III: Asian Ceramics and Decorations, featuring the private collection of 900+ early Southeast Asian ceramics amassed by collector and former diplomat, John Allen Tabor (LOTS 398-596).

Sessions I, II and III will follow each other immediately without breaks.

Pierre Auguste Renoir Collection Background:

Historians and collectors world-wide will face off May 14, 2005 when Hantman’s Auctioneers and Appraisers auction the Personal Artifacts and Archives Collection of French Impressionist artist Pierre Auguste Renoir.

The historic property was consigned to Hantman’s by Renoir’s grandson, Paul Renoir, son of Renoir’s youngest child, Claude, commonly known as “Coco”. After his death in 1919, Renoir’s estate was divided equally between his three sons (Pierre, Jean and Claude). The estate partition document is in the sale. Claude’s share included Les Collettes, Renoir’s sprawling home in the south of France in Cagnes-sur-Mer.

Discovered in Les Collettes were photograph albums, personal documents, deeds, old bank books, expense ledgers, personal letters, estate and business documents. To preserve the integrity of this historic discovery, the collection will be sold as an entirety.

Renoir’s personal artifacts include his signature burgundy and white silk polka dot scarf, spectacles, pince-nez, cigarette holder and French Legion d’honneur medals. Personal documents include his birth and marriage certificates, house deeds and leases, financial documents, even Renoir’s funeral and burial receipts.

Renoir works include a small watercolor, Chateau des Brouillards, a pencil drawing, Portrait of a Woman, and two charcoals on paper, Heads of Women.

Saved were forty tender letters Renoir wrote to wife, Aline, and letters to his sons and unknown persons. Voluminous handwritten correspondence to Renoir includes letters from contemporary artists and friends like Rodin, Monet, Manet, Georges d’Espagnat and Sacha Guitry which provides a glimpse into the life and concerns of one of the world’s greatest painters.

In one letter to his wife, Aline, Renoir writes “get used to my oldness and start saving money because I am uncertain how much more I will be able to earn”. Stricken by crippling arthritis throughout his body, Renoir managed to paint into his later years and, with the aid of an assistant, experiment with sculpture towards the end of his life.

Family photograph albums contain images of Renoir at home with his family, at work in his studio and garden, and boating and dining with artist friends. The rarest photograph, taken by his son the night before he died, shows Renoir in bed wearing a night cap.

Hundreds of vintage original glass plate negatives depict Renoir in various daily pursuits with family and work. Most rare are images of friends and models posed in landscape settings for paintings.

Also in the collection are fifty-six lithographic copper plates of Renoir’s paintings.

Other personal family items include Aline’s silk embroidered shawl, kimono and jewelry box and documents pertaining to Renoir’s wife, sons and family life. Ceramics made by Jean Renoir with Renoir at Les Collettes while recuperating from World War I battle wounds and miniature tea services are part of the collection.

Renoir’s career was influenced greatly by prominent French art dealers and collectors, Bernheim-Jeune, Durand-Ruel and Vollard. The massive archives assembled by Claude, and grandson, Paul, includes correspondence to Renoir from those dealers, account ledgers, exhibition photographs, inventories and critics’ reviews (some annotated by Renoir with his reactions). Voluminous dossiers document Renoir’s works by categories, international private and institutional collections, and painting authentication attestations. Claude and Paul Renoir’s reference library is part of the collection.