Seated Bather Drying her Leg

Baigneuse assise s’essuyant une jambe

This painting is the latest Renoir nude in the Musée de l’Orangerie collection. The art dealer and collector Paul Guillaume acquired it in 1924, just five years after the death of the painter. In the meantime it had belonged to the great Parisian gallery owner Paul Rosenberg (1881-1959). The subject of the painting, a nude bather sitting and drying her leg, resembles one of Renoir’s earliest paintings in the Walter-Guillaume collection, Femme nue dans un paysage [Nude in a Landscape] dated 1883. It is in fact a subject to which Renoir returned several times during his career. Here, however, the treatment is very different to the painting of 1883. The brushwork is much thicker, and the brushstrokes longer, with an interplay of juxtapositions that produce a shimmering effect. As in other paintings from Renoir’s late period, the impasto is thick in some places, and in others, leaves the texture of the canvas visible. The dominant colours are red, pink and white for the woman’s naked flesh, hair and the draperies on which she sits, while the background is dominated by green and brown.

Provenance: Paul Rosenberg; Paul Guillaume (1924); Domenica Walter