Sur la Plage, à Berneval
Renoir enjoyed capturing the play of summer light over the shingle strand as much as depicting young ladies in leisure pursuits. Vigorously sketched out en plein air, the scene depicts Julie Manet (daughter of Berthe Morisot and Eugène Manet), sitting beside her cousin, Paulette Gobillard, while bathers gambol in the sea behind them...
This fine print progressively became very well known due to widely several published editions**, not to mention the ubiquitous modern restrikes...
* According to Delteil, the first state is:
Avant que le cuivre n'ait été réduit. En cet état, il mesure 182 mm. de H (au lieu de 140 dans l'état suivant) et 140 de L. (au lieu de 95). On aperçoit, au second plan, à droite, un peu en dehors de la composition, une baigneuse, effacée dans l'état qui suit...
[Before reduction of the copperplate. In this state, it measures 182 mm. in height
(instead of 140 in the next state) and 140 in width (instead of 95). In the background, at the right, somewhat outside of the composition, there may be seen a woman bathing, removed in the following state... ]
The present impression is
pulled from the reduced copperplate, but the bather on the far right is
We have only ever seen one other
equivalent impression: Lot 77 in Christie's 1-2 May 2007 sale, in New York
both of these "intermediate" impressions, the figure of the rightmost
bather is however less marked than that in the only first state
impression we know; cf. PIASA sale, 9 December, 2004, Lot 141: www.piasa.auction.fr/FR/vente_peintures_arts_graphiques/v7167_piasa/l870277_pierre_auguste_renoir_sur_la_plage_berneval.html
the early print run(s) of this drypoint are not documented, there
clearly are impressions of the second state (without the bather); there
cannot however have been many before it was published in Théodore Duret, Les Peintres Impressionistes (2nd edition, Paris Floury, 1919), as the fragile burr doesn't wear until that time. The third state was notably published in the deluxe edition of Delteil's Le Peintre-Graveur Illustré, Tome XVII.