Stolen Nude by Pierre-Auguste Renoir Is Recovered in Italy After 33 Years - Three Arrested
Date: 1 Oct 2008 | | Views: 4565
"naked woman" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
AP Photo/Sandro Pace.
ROME.- Italian police informed that a work of art by Pierre-Auguste Renoir that was stolen from a private collector in Milan in 1975, was recovered. Three people have been arrested in a northern Italian town near the Austria border allegedly for trafficking in stolen art works. According to the police, the small oil painting features the back of a naked woman turning her head towards the viewer and is valued at around ˆ500,000. Renoir painted it in his last years.
Police officer Raffaele Mancino said, "It was stolen in 1975 along with other paintings from a restoration lab where the owner, who has since died, had taken it for minor repairs."
The suspects had contacted Vittorio Sgarbi, an Italian art critic, for an appraisal, who then informed the police, suspecting it was stolen. The police also recovered a still life with a forged Edouard Manet signature.
The nude Renoir was taken from a Milanese family in 1975 and the owner's daughter recognised the authenticity of the recovered work due to the mark of a ball she hit it with in the early 1970s.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born on February 25, 1841 in Limoges, Haute-Vienne, France, the child of a working class family. As a child he first worked in a porcelain factory where he was later asked to paint designs on fine china. He also painted hangings for overseas missionaries and decorations on fans before he enrolled in art school. During that period he visited the Louvre very often to study the French master painters.
In 1862 he began to study art with Charles Gleyre in Paris. While he was there he met Claude Monet, Frédéric Bazille, and Alfred Sisley. It was in 1864 when he started t exhibit his paintings at the Paris Salon. Six of his works of art were exhibited in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874, and he experienced his initial acclaim. In 1881 he traveled to Algeria, Madrid, Italy to see works of master painters such as Eugčne Delacroix, Diego Velázquez, Titian and Raphael.
He married Aline Victorine Charigot in 1890 with whom he already had a child. She had served as a model for Les Déjeuner des canotiers, 1881. He developed rheumatoid arthritis around 1892 and moved close to the Mediterranean coast for the warmer climate in 1907. Renoir painted during the last twenty years of his life, even when arthritis severely limited his movement, and he was wheelchair-bound. He developed progressive deformities in his hands and ankylosis of his right shoulder, requiring him to adapt his painting technique. In the advanced stages of his arthritis, he painted by having a brush strapped to his paralyzed fingers.
In 1919, Renoir visited the Louvre to see his paintings hanging with the old masters. He died in the village of Cagnes-sur-Mer, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, on December 3.