Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)

La plage de Varengeville

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
La plage de Varengeville
signed 'Renoir.' (lower right)
oil on canvas
18 1/8 x 21 5/8 in. (46.2 x 55 cm.)
Painted circa 1880
Etienne Bignou, Paris.
Alex. Reid & Lefevre, London.
Viscountess Astor; sale, Sotheby's, London, 1 December 1971, lot 23.
Marlborough Fine Art Ltd., London, by whom acquired at the above sale. Acquired by the present owner in 1992.
A. Vollard, Tableaux, pastels & dessins de Pierre-Auguste Renoir, vol. II, Paris, 1919 (illustrated p. 71).
G.-P. & M. Dauberville, Renoir, catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, vol. I, 1858-1881, Paris, 2007, no. 154 (illustrated p. 212).
London, Alex. Reid & Lefevre, Renoir, June 1935, no. 27.


Annemijn van Grimbergen
Annemijn van Grimbergen


This painting will be included in the forthcoming Renoir catalogue critique being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute and established from the archive funds of François Daulte, Durand-Ruel, Venturi, Vollard and Wildenstein.

Painted circa 1880, La plage de Varengeville is a luminous landscape by Pierre-Auguste Renoir showing his fascination with the Norman coast so beloved of the Impressionists, and in particular his friend Claude Monet. In this picture, various people are shown playing, sitting or generally enjoying beach life; they are dwarfed by the glowing cliffs that form a curving backdrop to the right-hand portion of the picture. Meanwhile, the rich blue of the distant sea and the lighter water nearer the viewer have been captured with an incredible evocative ability.

Varengeville is located on the Norman coast near Dieppe; on the other side of that city is the Château de Wargemont which was owned by Renoir's friend and patron Paul Bérard. It was in 1879 that Renoir had been introduced by Charles Deudon, a collector of Impressionist works, to Bérard, a successful businessman and ambassadorial secretary who owned a large estate surrounding his château which provided a great retreat from the hurly burly of Paris life. Initially, Bérard had been seeking a modern artist to paint his daughter's portrait. On Deudon's recommendation he commissioned Renoir, inviting him to Wargemont. This marked the beginning of a friendship that lasted until the end of Bérard's life. Renoir would stay at Wargemont often, and his first visit in 1879 would last for months; he spent the summer of 1880 there as well. During these stays, he created an array of pictures, including portraits and mural decorations. He would also come to create a string of landscapes showing his surroundings, be it the rose garden of Wargemont or the cliffs along the coast, for instance in La plage de Varengeville.