Painted in 1916, ‘Paysage’ exemplifies the fluidity of Renoir’s later work which often borders on the abstract. Informed by the rich colours of the Mediterranean, the broad palette of this small canvas presents a pictorial language particular to that of his time in Cagnes-sur-Mer.
In the early 1900s Renoir developed a new way of painting with swift vibrant brushstrokes. It was a style that was perfectly suited to capturing the transient nature of his surroundings. Depicted on an intimate scale, ‘Paysage’ is filled with as much drama, movement and vitality as Renoir’s larger paintings. The enigmatic brushwork varies from thick daubes of impasto to gentle washes of colour, while the vibrant tones create a depth, richness and texture to the landscape.
During this period Renoir split his time between Essoyes in Champagne and his house, Les Colletes, in Cagnes - the likely location of the present painting. In 1916, the year he painted ‘Paysage’, Renoir declared to his friend Ambroise Vollard that “I think this time I’ve got the secret of painting!... What a pity that every bit of progress one makes is only a step towards the grave! If I could only live long enough to do a masterpiece”.
Other of Renoir’s paintings from 1916 are in major institutions such as Barnes Foundation, Philadephia, (‘Paysage’), National Museum, Stockholm (‘Bathing Women’) and Musée Picasso, Paris (‘Portrait de modèle en buste’).