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Auguste Renoir's handwritten letter (1900)

Auguste Renoir's handwritten letter (1900)

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In 1900, French impressionist painter Auguste Renoir rented a house in the south of France, with a series of requirements.

  • Handwritten letter from Auguste Renoir to Hugues Vimeon, owner of a house.
  • One page, front and back.
  • In French.
  • 13.5cm x 21.4cm.
  • On April 16, 1900.
  • City of Grasse, France.
  • Condition: fair, as the page is partially torn at the edges, without compromising the understanding of the text.
  • This set is unique, it comes with Auguste Renoir's handwritten letter, an explanatory letter written by the letter's heir and two old postcards, representing the house mentioned in Renoir's letter.

Original transcription of the letter

Monsieur Hugues Vimeon,

Je m´engage à louer votre maison [?] au Hameau du Toulonnet à Magagnosc pour une durée de three ans à parte du premier octobre dix neuf cent, pour la somme de huit cents francs par an, à condition que la maison soit terminée et habitable, that les plâtres soient secs, qu´il y ait une cheminée dans la salle à manger, une dans la chambre à l´est au premier étage et une dans la chambre à l´ouest au premier étage, qu´il y ait des toilettes sur le palier du premier étage, au second deux chambres de bonnes côté ouest et un atelier à l´est, avec grande fenêtre, le tout peint à la colle, un cabinet d´aisance extérieur avec entrée intérieure. De plus je m´engage à verser la somme de twelve cents francs représentant une année et demi de location (payé, signed R, de Renoir) avant le 1er octobre prochain à Monsieur Hugues Vimeon proprietaire de la dite maison.

Artiste demeurant in Paris 33 rue de Rochefoucauld
Fait à Grasse on 16 April 1900

Translation from French to Portuguese

Mr Hugues Vimeon,

I promise to rent your house [?] in the village of Toulonnet in Magagnosc for a period of three years from October 1, 1900, for the sum of eight hundred francs per year, provided that the house is completed and habitable, that the plasters are dry , that there be a chimney in the dining room, one in the east bedroom on the first floor and one in the west bedroom on the first floor, bathrooms on the first floor landing, two servants' rooms on the west side and a studio on the east, with a large window, all walls with wallpaper, an outside bathroom with an inside entrance. Furthermore, I undertake to pay the sum of one thousand and two hundred francs, representing one and a half years' rent (paid, signed "R." for Renoir) before October 1st to Mr. Hugues Vimeon, owner of the said house.

Artist-painter residing in Paris, 33 Rue de Rochefoucauld
Done at Grasse, April 16, 1900.

Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) was one of the greatest representatives of the French impressionist movement. Specialist in portraits and nudes, mainly influenced by the paintings of Eugène Delacroix, he was also inspired, throughout his career, by the works of Raphael, Fragonard, Courbet and Manet. Since studying in Paris, he had interacted with other great names in painting, such as Monet, Bazille and Sisley.

In the late 1860s, he often painted outdoors, in the forest of Fontainebleau, a habit that would mark his style and themes.

In 1877, while exhibiting for several years at the Salon des Impressionistes, Renoir painted his famous work Le Bal du Moulin de la Galette . After a period of financial difficulties, he gradually returned to portraiture, enjoying great success with Déjeuner des canotiers.

In 1890, three years after the Grandes Baigneuses , he painted, in a style that varied between impressionism and the Ingresque style, Les Jeunes Filles au piano , considered the founding painting of this new period.

From 1900 onwards, Renoir acquired a solid reputation and exhibited his works in all European capitals. He died in 1919, recognized and accomplished. He was the father of five children, including Jean Renoir, a famous French director and screenwriter.

In the summer of 2018, we discovered in the south of France (in the city of Grasse) this letter – still unknown – by the French impressionist painter Auguste Renoir. The heir to the letter, an 85-year-old French woman, wrote to us:

Grasse, July 4, 2019

(...) Regarding the story of Auguste Renoir's letter, it was inherited by my aunt's husband, born in Magagnosc (town of Grasse) and who had a relationship with the Hugues family, a large family from the village, owner of the house described and rented to Mr. Renoir.

In it, he found a certain light that, after living in it, he found even better for his paintings. Later, he left for Cagnes-Sur-Mer, where the Renoir Museum is built.

When my aunt died, more than 30 years ago, among the newspapers, we found this document (...)

When I read this letter, I found it particularly interesting that Renoir talked about his studio: "a studio facing east, with a large window."

The list of your requirements, demonstrated in the letter, also allows us to imagine your personality and lifestyle.

Furthermore, the unique signature adds to the rarity of this document: "Renoir, artist-painter who lives in Paris", since most of his letters are simply signed "Renoir” and although he lived for around two years in the aforementioned home, this was a period of his life that was little documented.

All in all, an exciting discovery for both Renoir admirers and Impressionism enthusiasts.

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