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Pierre-Auguste Renoir, La Place Clichy, c.1880

Renoir was the leading impressionist painter of the Parisienne. In 1882, the writer and critic Joris Karl Huysmans described him as, ‘the true painter of young women, the bloom of whose skin, velvet flesh, darting eye, and elegant finery, he renders with sunlit gaiety.’
The blurring of the background crowd scene against the more clearly defined principal figure may owe something to photography, although the steep perspective also suggests that he may have been influenced by Japanese ukiyo-e prints. Although the summarily painted detail of the streetscape makes it difficult to identify with any certainty, the painting has borne the title ‘Place Clichy ‘since 1900. It was probably painted around 1880, in Renoir’s studio in nearby place Saint-Georges.