RENOIR: LES PARAPLUIES 1883
picture, as well as being a delight in itself, illustrates a transitional aspect
of Renoir's art. It shows a new attention to design as a well-defined scheme
of arrangement, the umbrellas forming a linear pattern far from the Impressionist
kind, the linear element also being stressed in the young modiste's bandbox,
the little girl's hoop and the umbrella handles. In this care for definite form,
apparent also in the figures at the left, one can see a discontent with Impressionism
and a search for a firmer basis of style that would date the work to about 1883-4,
after his journeyings abroad in Italy and the revision he brought into his ideas.
It is unlikely that it preceded the Muslim Festival of 1881 and more probably
represents a subsequent reaction.
The Cézanne-like treatment of the tree at the back also suggests it
was painted after Renoir stayed with him at L'Estaque in 1882. The children
and the lady with them are more indicative of the style of the 'seventies
than the rest of the picture which may well have passed through stages of
repainting over a period. The charm of the whole is nevertheless able to overcome
the feeling of slight discrepancy that may result from close examination.
Durand-Ruel bought the picture from Renoir in 1892 and sold it to Sir Hugh
Lane, in whose bequest it came to the Tate Gallery in 1917. It was transferred
to the National Gallery in 1935.