Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Portrait of Ambroise Vollard, 1908
Oil on canvas
32 x 25 ½ in. (81.6 x 65.2 cm)
Samuel Courtauld Trust: Courtauld Gift, 1932

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Ambroise Vollard was one of the most important art dealers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A shrewd businessman and risk-taker, Vollard championed artists such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso. In this 1908 portrayal of Vollard, Renoir depicted the dealer in an idealized manner, as a connoisseur, examining a statuette of a kneeling female nude. Chiaroscuro and modeling lend solidity to certain forms, especially the dealer’s face and hands, while bright touches of color and looser brushwork throughout other parts of the picture animate the surface, adding a gentle, radiant effect.
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