Flowers in a Vase

Fleurs dans un vase

Renoir liked to paint bouquets of flowers while varying the arrangements, using them as exercises on shapes and colours. Here he took pleasure in mixing numerous species, the variety of which enabled him to achieve the desired arrangement. Renoir also paid great attention to the positioning of shapes and the perspective. While the vase and the bouquet appear to be viewed in profile, the circular table on which they stand appears to be viewed from above. This is indicated by the flat area of brown which eradicates the effect of depth.
The flowers are fanned out asymmetrically in the form of a triangle. The yellow and pink roses are intermingled with other white flowers and greenery. The warm and cold tones interplay with one another and are accentuated by the very pale background against which they stand out. The stems of the flowers are visible in the transparent vase, onto which Renoir has painted reflections. These two simple touches of white give the entire painting an illusion of light and relief. Several of Renoir's contemporaries painted numerous still lifes of flowers, including the artists Edouard Manet (1832 – 1883) and Henri Fantin-Latour (1836 – 1904) in particular.

Provenance: in Renoir's studio on his death; Paul Guillaume; Domenica Walter