Bouquet in a Vase

Creation date
oil on canvas
Mark Descriptions
signature in brush applied dark blue oil paint l.l at center of quadrant.: Renoir
18-3/4 x 13 in. (canvas) 28-1/8 x 21-7/8 x 4 in. (framed/not glazed)
Credit line
The Lockton Collection
Accession number
Not Currently On View

Flower arrangements were an ideal vehicle for Renoir's Impressionism, allowing him to combine vivid color and sensuous texture. Renoir lavished thick, rich strokes upon the profusion of blossoms, their porcelain vase, and even the wall behind them. Both the bright hues of the vase and the gentle colors of the flowers are enhanced by the acid green backdrop.

This luminous still life was painted in the late 1870s, during the height of the Impressionist era. True to Impressionist practice, Renoir used blue pigments to render the shadow cast by the vase.

Anonymous sale at (Hôtel Drouot, Paris) in 1896;{1} (Durand-Ruel, Paris) in 1896; Theodor E. Behrens [1857-1921], Hamburg, in 1896;{2} by inheritance to his wife, Esther Behrens [1862-1936], Hamburg; (Hugo L. Moser, Berlin, later New York) in the 1930s;{3} on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1959 to 1965;{4} sale at (Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York) in 1965;{5} purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Richard C. Lockton, Indianapolis; given to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1970.

{1}François Daulte, compiler of a prospective catalogue raisonné of Renoir’s paintings, informed Kurt F. Pantzer, Indianapolis, of the early provenance of this painting in correspondence dated 11 January 1971 (IMA Historical File 70.80). Daulte indicates that the painting was sold in Paris on 17 April 1896 (as lot no. 86), where it was acquired by Durand-Ruel, who subsequently sold it to Behrens on 14 December 1896. A Drouot auction catalogue for this date has not been located, suggesting that the date may be in error.
{2}Although Daulte identifies the owner as “Gustave Behrens” and his widow as “Esther Behrens,” the owner was probably Theodor Behrens, an important collector of German and French nineteenth-century art in Hamburg. No archival documentation on Theodor Behrens’ collection survives, see Ulrich Luckhardt, “Eduard L. Behrens und Theodor E. Behrens: Sammeln moderner Kunst in zwei Generationen,” in Ulrich Luckhardt and Uwe M. Schneede, eds., Private Schätze: über das Sammeln von Kunst in Hamburg bis 1933, Hamburg, 2001, p. 37, although Luckhardt identifies some paintings formerly in the Behrens collection including other paintings by Renoir.
{3}Daulte notes that Esther Behrens sold the painting to Moser in the 1930s, although the recent publication by Guy-Patrice and Michel Dauberville, Renoir: catalogue raisonné des Tableaux, Pastels, Dessins et Aquarelles, Paris, vol. 1, 2007, cat no. 31, gives the date of transfer as 1924. Moser, who fled the Nazis, via Holland, arrived in New York in 1940.
{4}The loan is noted in correspondence, dated 31 October 1968, from Richard C. Lockton to François Daulte (IMA Historical File 70.80).
{5}Sotheby, Parke Bernet, New York, Impressionist and modern paintings and drawings, 14 October 1965, lot no. 115 (ill.) as “property of the heirs of Mrs. Maria Moser, New York.”
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