Pierre Auguste Renoir - Richard Wagner

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Original lithograph, on heavy Arches paper, in black and white, circa 1900.

References :

1) Loys Delteil (Pierre Auguste Renoir : L’Oeuvre grave et lithographie) Number 33

  1. Leymarie & Melot “Les Gravures des Impressionistes” Number 33
  2. Roger-Marx,Claude“Les Lithographies de Renoir”,1951, listed and illustrated on pages 40/41
  1. Stella, Joseph G : “The Graphic Work of Renoir” Listed as plate 33

Note: A great music lover, Renoir was one of the first admirers of Wagner in France. At the beginning of 1882, when the painter was travelling in the south of Italy, he had the opportunity to visit Palermo where Wagner was staying. After two fruitless attempts, Renoir was finally introduced to the "maestro" who, the day before, had put the final notes to Parsifal. The course of this meeting is well known thanks to a letter from Renoir to one of his friends, dated 15 January 1882. Wagner showed himself to be very friendly. Over a few drinks, the two men made idle conversation for over three quarters of an hour before Renoir proposed a short sitting for the following day. He recounted this second meeting in his letter thus: "He was very happy but very nervous […]. In short, I think I spent my time well, thirty five minutes is not long, but if I had stopped sooner it would have been better, because my model ended up by losing some of his good humour, and he became stiff. I followed these changes too closely […]. At the end Wagner asked to see it. He said "Ah! Ah! It's true that I look like a Protestant minister". But I was very happy it wasn't too much of a flop: There is something of that admirable face in it". Twenty years later the art critic Julius Meir-Graefe came back to this "little souvenir": "it is a remarkable document. It reveals certain aspects of Wagner with an astonishing, almost pitiless, psychology. One can not say how aware the painter was of this: but in any case, the painting reveals just how free the artist felt when faced with the object of his admiration".  Two pictures resulted : one in the Musee D’Orsay which is closely related to our Lithograph. Many years late, circa 1900, the Art Dealer and Publisher, Ambroise Vollard, always a man of commerce, persuaded Renoir to make a lithograph of this famous work and ours is an example of this.

Publisher: Ambroise Vollard, Paris, France

Size: 435 x 320 mms (Image) ; 651 x 500 mms (Paper)

Edition: Our piece is from an edition of 100